Fire, explosion engulf Bear River hay buildings

Thursday , June 12, 2014 - 5:09 PM

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BEAR RIVER — A fire and propane tank explosion engulfed two buildings filled with hay, injuring one firefighter and causing up to $10 million in damage, the Box Elder County fire marshal said Thursday.

The blaze at the Bailey Farms International hay plant started around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, Fire Marshal Corey Barton said. It started in a break room and spread to a propane tank. The result was a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion of the tank, which dramatically accelerated the fire.

Portions of the propane tank flew several yards away from the plant and even into the nearby road. 

The fire made short work of spreading to the hay inside and wrecking anything inside the two steel structures. 

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One firefighter suffered minor burns and was treated at a local hospital, Barton said.

The fire continued to burn Thursday and was too dangerous to combat, the fire marshal said. He said crews planned to let it burn itself out, which could take up to two weeks.

The plant compacts hay and ships it all over the world. An employee at the plant, Travis Dyring, said the type of hay they were working with was alfalfa, which is difficult to put out if caught on fire. Even if the hay is wet, it is still incredibly flammable. 

Dyring said it will be awhile until they can fully account for how much product was lost -- at least one of the buildings held about one ton of hay.

Firefighters will be constantly monitoring the blaze until it is finally out, but Barton said the risk of it spreading anywhere else is minimal. 

Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or arivera@standard.net.

 

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