Sunday, August 23, 2020

UPDATE: Barn Fire Near Arcata Continuing to Burn

Posted By and on Sun, Aug 23, 2020 at 5:34 PM

click to enlarge ARCATA FIRE DISTRICT FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Arcata Fire District Facebook page
UPDATE:

A barn fire that erupted Sunday afternoon on the 800 block of Mad River Road in Arcata is expected to continue burning for at least a week, impacting the local community, according to the Arcata Fire District.

No one was injured in the blaze in which nearly 200 tons of hay caught fire, destroying a 14,400-square-foot barn. The cause is believed to be spontaneous combustion of the hay.

According to AFD, firefighters were preparing to enter the structure when the hay pile collapsed, causing a massive fireball.

“Thankfully, our firefighters had not gone inside yet. When the hay pile collapsed, it cause a dust explosion,” Battalion Chief Sean Campbell said in a news release. “All of the hay dust and particles ignited simultaneously. This fire went from light smoke to a flashover in about thirty seconds.”

Update on last nights barn fire on Larson Ranch. This short video shows how fast conditions changed about seven minutes after firefighters arrived. Thankfully no one was injured.

Posted by Arcata Fire District on Monday, August 24, 2020
Despite pouring some 30,000 gallons of water trying to extinguish the fire, it is continuing to burn, he said.

“It became clear to me that we were not going to extinguish this fire so I made the decision to let it burn. I was tying up resources from seven fire departments and we were not making any progress. I released all resources and placed a fire watch on the scene to make sure the fire didn’t spread to other buildings,” Campbell said.

PREVIOUS:

Just after 4 p.m., firefighters received word that hay was burning in a hay barn in the 800 block of Mad River Road north of Arcata. By 4:10 p.m., the reporting party said that fire had spread from the hay into the structure.

UPDATE 4:12 p.m.: Two additional water tenders requested, by the Incident Commander.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: Firefighters found a large metal building with smoke coming out of it. Four water tenders are responding.

UPDATE 4:39 p.m.: A reader sent the following photo of the scene. Barn on fire Smoke rises from a metal hay barn north of Arcata.

UPDATE 4:41 p.m.: The roof just collapsed, according to Jonathan Beck, a local resident.
click to enlarge The collapsed barn.
  • The collapsed barn.
UPDATE 5:16 p.m.: The barn is about 150 feet from the residence, Beck told us. All the livestock is outside.

The Arcata Fire District posted the photos below on its Facebook page:



click to enlarge ARCATA FIRE DISTRICT FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Arcata Fire District Facebook page
click to enlarge ARCATA FIRE DISTRICT FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Arcata Fire District Facebook page
click to enlarge ARCATA FIRE DISTRICT FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Arcata Fire District Facebook page
Read the full AFD release below: 
(Arcata, CA) – August 23, 2020– Arcata Fire District was dispatched to hay on fire inside of a barn at the 800 block of Mad River Road, Arcata Bottoms.

As Arcata Firefighters were responding, dispatch reported the fire had spread to the structure and the barn was now on fire. Arcata Firefighters arrived to find a 14,400 square foot barn with light smoke showing from the eaves.

As firefighters deployed hose lines and set up a water supply, fire conditions rapidly changed. Firefighters were preparing to go inside to fight the fire when the hay pile collapsed, causing a massive fireball to erupt.

Battalion Chief Campbell reports, “Thankfully our firefighters had not gone inside yet. When the hay pile collapsed, it cause a dust explosion. All of the hay dust and particles ignited simultaneously. This fire went from light smoke to a flashover in about thirty seconds”.

The barn contained approximately 187 tons of hay, which is equivalent to 500 bales weighing 750 pounds apiece. The entire barn and all of its contents were lost. Firefighters used approximately 30,000 gallons of water trying to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful. Once firefighters realized they didn’t have the water or staffing to extinguish the fire, they discontinued efforts and let the hay burn.

Firefighters believe the fire will continue to burn for approximately one week. Those impacted by the smoke should keep their doors and windows closed. Arcata Fire is requesting the public not call 911 to report the smoldering fire. Firefighters will be checking the scene regularly.

“It became clear to me that we were not going to extinguish this fire so I made the decision to let it burn. I was tying up resources from seven fire departments and we were not making any progress. I released all resources and placed a fire watch on the scene to make sure the fire didn’t spread to other buildings”, reported Chief Campbell.

There were no injuries and no livestock were inside the barn. Fire investigators believe spontaneous combustion of the hay is what caused the fire.
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