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Box Elder County firefighters worked through the night and into Thursday morning to contain an explosive fire at a hay compression and cubing plant, but it could be weeks more before the flames are finally snuffed.
Box Elder County Fire Marshal Corey Barton said hay fires are notoriously difficult to extinguish, and the fact that the hay continued Thursday to burn inside a super-heating steel building made firefighters' task even more difficult.
The first report of the blaze at the Bailey Farms facility, near 6400 N. 6800 West in Tremonton, came in at 9:47 p.m. Wednesday, prompting county crews, and units from Tremonton, Corinne and Honeyville, to rush to the scene of an already raging inferno.
Indeed, it was so hot inside the structure late Wednesday night that a 500-gallon propane tank exploded, sending metal shrapnel and igniting gas throughout the structure. A Tremonton firefighter was injured, requiring treatment for second-degree burns before being released from the hospital Thursday, Barton said.
"This site is a complete loss," Barton said. "We're looking at $8 million to $10 million in losses when you take into account the hay, equipment and building itself."
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, but Barton said it appeared to have started in the building's breakroom and then spread into the stock of 900-pound hay bales awaiting compression and shipment.
"It's going to take a very long time to get this fire out, possibly a couple weeks," Barton said.