Essex Fire Rescue battles haybale fire

(Essex) -- The Essex Fire Rescue were dispatched shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, in response to a trailer and haybale fire.

Firefighter Aaron Sample said a small crew of firefighters were sent near the intersection of 110th and B Avenue near Essex. Sample said the crew of four battled the fire for about three hours which appeared to be caused by the malfunctioning of one of the wheel bearings which Sample said the driver noticed, and was able to pull over into an open area.

"Just a bunch of heat and grease," Sample said. "The driver of the vehicle did say he saw some smoke rising from the wheel and he slowed down to see what was going on. He stated when he slowed down enough, he saw there was a lot of smoke coming from the haybales."

Captain Justin Welchans said this was a rather rare situation to run across having encountered a trailer and haybale fire only a few times over the past 10 years. Welchans said it typically will occur with older trailers and there are a few different ways these types of fires can occur.

"A lot to do with haybale fires is either how dry it is or how green it is when it's baled," Welchans said. "Of course when it's dry and you have something like a wheel bearing get overheated it will ignite fairly easily just like tinder for a fire. If you happen to bale your hay too green, it will ferment itself and create it's own heat and self-combust."

Sample said Essex Fire Rescue was the lone responder to the fire and had five members of their Fire Explorers Program present for on-the-job training.

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