Columbia River Fire and Rescue and Calaway Hay Products employees work together to put out flames

PHOTO COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE AND RESCUE - Emergency crews were called to Calaway Hay Products in St. Helens on Tuesday, July 25, after a fire broke out in a hay pile. The cause of the fire is believed to have been stored wet hay that spontaneously combusted.Columbia River Fire and Rescue firefighters were called to Calaway Hay Products on Tuesday, July 25, when a fire broke out in a large pile of hay inside the storage facility.

Crews were dispatched to the 700 block of Port Avenue at 4:24 p.m. when a commercial fire was reported by workers inside the facility, according to a release from CRFR.

When fire personnel arrived, a dozen Calaway employees were using an on-site fire hose to control the fire with water spray. Employees reported seeing flames as high as 30 feet when the fire first broke out.

When firefighters arrived, they helped employees use on-site production machinery to move large volumes of hay outside the building, where firefighters were able to wet it down. Calaway employees also sifted through the hay using hand tools to put out hot spots, a release from CRFR added.

Crews worked in dusty conditions and temperatures upward of 90 degrees to prevent the fire from spreading.

The cause of the fire is believed to be spontaneous combustion from damp hay that was in the middle of the hay pile, the release stated. Damage estimates were not available. Production at the facility is ongoing.

A total eight firefighters, one medic, two fire engines and two chief officers were on the scene.

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