Barn blaze keeps firefighters busy
Alnwick/Haldimand Township firefighters remained on scene for most of Sunday after a barn fire the previous day on Grills Road north of Grafton. The steel barn housed over 800 large bales of hay and straw along with four pieces of farm equipment when it went up in flames late Saturday afternoon. Fire crews stays on the scene for most of Sunday and were called back to the property Monday. Pete Fisher/Northumberland Today
ALNWICK/HALDIMAND TOWNSHIP - A large barn fire tested the resources of firefighters over the weekend.
The fire on Grills Road north of Grafton first came in shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Smoke could be scene as far as Wesleyville and Presquille Bay from the fire on the clear day.
When crews arrived the steel barn housing over 800 large bales of hay and straw was engulfed in flames.
The building also contained a hay bin, soya bean roaster, corn planter and seed drill.
There was also a cab unit of a old tractor trailer at the rear of the barn.
More than 24 hours after the initial call, firefighters remained on scene putting out the fire.
"They're beat, they're tired," Alnwick/Haldimand Township Fire Chief Al Mann said at the fire scene on Sunday.
Large hay and straw fires are extremely frustrating to extinguish, but Mann said they were fortunate the farmer had a excavator on the property to assist in pulling the hay apart and get at the smoldering fire.
"It's deep-seated, burning down into the pile," Mann said.
"Hay is tightly packed into bales and the fire gets down inside the bales. Water doesn't penetrate the bales so until you can tear it apart - it just keeps burning."
Because of the size of the fire and the longevity, there was a major response from fire departments across Northumberland County.
Three stations from Alnwick/Haldimand Township were called to the scene along with Trent Hills, Hamilton Township, Cramahe, Brighton and Port Hope either helping at the fire or covering off for departments who were.
One firefighter was taken to hospital from the fire, but was released Saturday night.
Mann said he's grateful for the assistance of neighbouring departments for a fire that tested the resources of the department.
"You can only stretch it so far. But again fortunately with mutual aid and the resources we have in the County we are able to cover everything off."
A number of businesses and neighbours brought the firefighters food and drinks during the course of the fire over the three days.
"It's important because when the firefighters get tired, hungry and dehydrated they can't perform so it's important and we appreciate all the help."
Firefighters were once again called back to the property on Monday after flames were spotted.
The Miedema family who owns the barn said the firefighters did an amazing job and they are very grateful to them along with community members who have been offering support to the family.
There is no estimate on damage and no cause of the fire.