Hay fire becomes a nine-hour battle
by The Press and Standard | October 4, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: October 3, 2018 at 10:01 am
Colleton County Fire-Rescue crews spent nearly nine hours battling a hay fire that destroyed a 700 block of Benjamin Drive barn Sept. 26 at 4:04 p.m.
The first units arriving found a barn measuring approximately 50 feet by 40 feet ablaze. Inside the barn, 300 round bales of hay stacked nearly 16 feet high were burning.
The burning barn, located well off the roadway, was endangering a second barn standing about 20 feet away. According to Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy, the endangered barn contained more hay bales, as well as farm equipment and tools. A fire engine was set up on a small driveway. Because the barns were located in an area where no hydrants were available, a tender shuttle was established for water supply. Firefighters deployed multiple hand lines and a Blitzfire (which is anchored into to the ground for stability) sent a master stream of water into the barn to combat the fire and protect the second barn.
The wooded area behind the barn was also on fire, and a tractor from the Forestry Commission was requested.
Shortly after firefighters arrived, the structure collapsed. Firefighters worked to remove the remains of the metal roof to access the burning hay.
ARFF 19, the specialized firefighting vehicle stationed near Lowcountry Regional Airport, was brought to the scene. McRoy said the specialized truck was dispatched to the fire scene because of its ability to send out a steady stream of water from a turret located on top of the truck while moving and its off-road capabilities were used to battle the blaze for several hours.
The Forestry Commission tractor cut a firebreak around the back of the building and then assisted with pushing hay bales out of the fire so they could be broken apart and extinguished. Two civilian tractors equipped with hayforks were also used for about five hours to remove the hay bales and break them open.
The county’s Public Works Department arrived at the fire scene at 10:30 p.m. to refuel the fire trucks working the blaze.
The farm’s owner brought cold bottled water to firefighters working the fire. “It was greatly appreciated,” McRoy said.
The barn and 300 bales of hay were lost. The second barn was saved.
The final units cleared the scene at 1:30 a.m. Sept. 27.