PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hay bales in a Newberg organic dairy spontaneously combusted Sunday, calling multiple fire districts out to the rural area.
Crews from the St. Paul Fire District responded to a barn fire at Sar-Ben Farms on River Road NE late Sunday morning. The organic dairy operation said their hay storage had gotten too hot and caught fire.
Firefighters arrived to find that the fire was coming from the center of the stacked hay bales, and the flames had started to melt the metal roof of the 80-by-120-foot storage area. A call for assistance went out to the Aurora Fire District, TVF&R, Woodburn Fire, and the Dundee Fire Districts. Other local farmers also showed up to help.
Barn fires like this one are hard to put out right away, according to St. Paul Fire. Since the burn came from within the hay stacks, crews had to use a bulldozer to break apart the bales and spread them out, while other fire engines doused the smoldering area with water.
While the burn was contained to the one structure, TVF&R said due to the densely packed bales, it would likely burn for hours. They estimated there were 1,400 bales stored at the dairy—each bale weighed 1000 pounds.
No one was injured from the fire. There was an estimated 200-300 thousand dollars worth of hay stacked in the barn at the time the fire broke out, said St. Paul Fire.