Hay fire on double semi-truck extinguished by Fire Department
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: November 28, 2012
When you see a hay truck you’re supposed to make a wish, and the wish of Santa Paula firefighters that smoldering stacks of hay loaded on a semi wouldn’t become a serious fire was granted Sunday.
According to SPFD Captain Steve Lazenby, the incident occurred November 25 at about 6:47 p.m. when Engines 81 and 82 were dispatched to a large vehicle fire reported in the area of 10th Street and Railroad Avenue. “The vehicle was found parked and unattended at the dead end corners of Railroad and Ojai Street,” on the east side of 10th Street, in a large parking lot area.
Lazenby said the vehicle “was a semi-truck with a set of double flatbed trailers” loaded with 42 bales of straw, each weighing 2,000 pounds. The fire was found to be in between three stacks of bales on the back of the rear trailer.
Finding the source of the smoke was like a puzzle: “There were two stacks side-by-side of three bales each on the very back of the trailer, butted up against three bales that were stacked diagonally across the trailer with a smoldering fire between them.”
Lazenby said Engine 81 initiated fire suppression and Engine 82 assisted with the call, but also had to respond to other calls during the hay fire incident. Firefighters initially used water and foam in between the bales of hay, but it soon “became clear that the fire was well seated, so the bales were broken apart one at a time and either pushed, pulled or washed off of the truck and onto the street until all six of the bales at the rear of the trailer were removed.”
Lazenby said three diagonally stacked bales were left in place, but the burned areas were “pulled apart and soaked down until the load was cold... six bales were destroyed in the effort, three bales were damaged and the remaining 33 bales were undamaged.” The broken apart bales were left on the roadway and the area taped off by firefighters to prevent traffic from driving through the area.
The driver of the truck was advised it was his responsibility to see the debris was removed from the roadway. Lazenby said the man told firefighters he contacted the trucking company owners.
The investigation determined the fire was accidental: “It started where two metal tie-down cables crossed each other on the wooden deck of the flatbed and caused heat through friction to burn the wooden deck and then spread up into the bales.” Lazenby said it was found that an area of decking about 8 inches by 18 inches was “burned through directly under the crossed cables, and the area of smoldering straw was directly above the cables.”
Engine 81 firefighters cleared the scene at 8:56 p.m.