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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna hay fire under investigation

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  • A fire in a field south of Smyrna Wednesday evening left several families concerned as the blaze continued into the night.
    Citizens’ Hose Company responded to a hay fire Wednesday night at the intersection of Brenford Road and Rabbit Chase Lane.
    First Assistant Fire Chief Jay Pappas said the fire department was called out to the hay fire around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night and spent roughly four hours fighting the fire before heading back to the fire department shortly after midnight.
    Pappas said the call was in reference to a pile of hay bales in a field on Rabbit Chase Lane.
    While the fire was large and could be seen miles down the road, Pappas said it was contained to the area where the bales were located.
    “Luckily the bales were stacked up so it was pretty much secluded. It wasn’t close to anything,” Pappas said. “We just needed to contain the pile. It wasn’t going anywhere. It wasn’t doing anything. It wasn’t close to the developments.”
    The only concern the fire department had, Pappas said, was the backside of the bales. Pappas said there was a big ditch behind the bales, there was no water in the ditches and the bales were falling into the ditch.
    Clayton Fire Company and Leipsic Volunteer Fire Department were called in to assist with the fire since they had trucks that could go back into the field.
    “I think it looked worse than what it actually was,” Pappas said.
    He said the fire could be seen from some of the developments, and the residents may have smelled some smoke; however, it was a big pile of hay in the middle of a field so there was a lot of land for the fire to burn out.
    “It was a pretty impressive fire, but it wasn’t going anywhere. It’s a nightmare with us to try and do anything with the fire,” Pappas said. “When stuff like hay catches fire, it takes days to put it out.”
    Pappas said the fire departments don’t have the proper equipment to address a hay fire and that state agencies would have to step in. Simply putting water on the fire won’t put it out; the fire won’t spread, it just needs to burn itself out.
    “We just helped contain the fire that night and made sure it didn’t go any further. That’s all we could really do,” Pappas said. “We kept checking on it throughout the night and the next morning.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The fire was 80 percent burned out by morning, Pappas said.
    Pappas said the department couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the fire that night; however, the officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office were onsite and investigating the matter. DNREC officials were also on the scene; neither the fire marshal’s office nor DNREC could be reached for comment.
    Two days after the fire Daniel Maffett said smoke was still coming up from the hay bales. Maffett lives in the Worthington community. He said it was pretty amazing seeing the fire raging in the middle of nowhere, stating nothing exciting ever happens around the area.
    “I know some of the residents close to Rabbit Chase were concerned over the blaze due to the size alone,” Maffett said. “The fire department did the best they could with it; they must have determined it was not a threat because they left with the fire still burning in the middle of the night.”

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