By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Area fire departments responded to a large hay bale fire Sunday afternoon, Dec. 22, and were able to save the barn structure from serious damage.
Firefighters received a call of a fire about 12:40 p.m. in the 8000 Block of North Pecan, about one-half mile north of the Newkirk Cemetery.
“We arrived and found about half the hay was on fire. The owner stressed to save the barn,” said Fire Chief Adam Longcrier.
The NFD was able to put out part of it, but knew they would need more water, so they called several fire departments for tankers in a mutual assist call, including Kildare, River Road, Peckham, Bear Creek, Dale Township and Blackwell.
“The bad thing about hay is it doesn’t want to go out. We knocked a big part of it out, and moved tractors in to remove the hay,” Longcrier. “We knew we wouldn’t have enough water, so I made the call for tankers.”
The firefighters were soon able to play an offensive approach in fighting the fire and keep the flames away from the structure as much as possible.
Due to the immense heat, several firefighters succumbed to heat-related issues, like heat exhaustion, but an ambulance was on-scene to assist them and keep them cool.
Firefighters finally had the fire under control after 7 p.m., and were able to save the barn, although it did sustain some damage.
The bales continued smoldering through the night, and firefighters have made several trips to the site to monitor the hay.
“The hay is a total loss, and it’ll be burning the rest of the week,” Longcrier said. “The barn does have some damage, but that was to be expected.”
Longcrier is happy with the efforts of the firefighters in saving the barn.
“I thank every department. I’m proud of them. It’s not very often we get to save a barn like that, and the owner is happy,” he said.