By Connor Lynch
KINBURN — A fire in a fabric-covered Coverall destroyed about 1,600 large square bales of hay on Mason Gillan’s Kinburn-area farm.
The fire broke out on Oct. 2 on Dominion Springs Road, one hour west of Ottawa. Ottawa Fire Service Sector Chief Todd Horricks said that firefighters were on site for 26 hours, working straight through the night.
“It’s tough with those types of fires. You have to get heavy equipment,” to spread the hay and straw out to soak it, Horricks told Farmers Forum.
A nearby field gave the firefighters room to spread out the smouldering hay so it could be saturated with water without risking another fire outbreak, Horricks said.
A robotic ladder and hose extended over the fire and doused it with water. As a bulldozer and high hoe worked through the hay, “oxygen (got) into the hay and it would combust,” Horricks said. “I’ve had a few of these in my career; it’s a lot of meticulous work.”
There were no utilities to the Coverall, nor was there any heavy equipment inside. Horricks said that although the official cause of the fire is unknown, it’s possible it was a case of spontaneous combustion. Gillan said that he couldn’t imagine what else the cause would be.
“There’s no other ignition source for it, and I’m pretty near positive nobody lit it,” he said.
The damage was estimated at $320,000. The Coverall and all the hay bales were completely destroyed.