Truckload of hay catches fire, I-25 southbound closed for nearly six hours

Clifford J. Smith photo
Sitting just before the flames rests Vincent Hill’s truck after smoldering for hours. The Douglas Fire Department in conjunction with the Wyoming Highway Patrol responded to the incident on I-25 southbound.

Jackson Day photo
Firefighters from the Douglas Volunteer Fire Department drench burning hay in an attempt to prevent the flames from spreading.

Jackson Day

A semi-truck hauling hay caught fire on I-25 near mile marker 149, between Glenrock and Douglas, just before 1:30 p.m. May 23. 
There were no injuries, according to Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeremy Beck.
Vincent Hill, of Pensacola, Florida, was driving the truck as it was on fire.
“I saw hay fall in my mirror and once I looked up higher in my mirror, the front (portion of hay) on the driver’s side was already on fire,” Hill said at the scene.
“Once I saw it  was on fire, I stopped as quickly as I could and tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, but it had spread to the point where there was no putting it out with a fire extinguisher. After that, I just grabbed what I could and got myself to safety.”
Wyoming State Highway Patrol Troopers arrived about seven minutes later, with the Douglas Fire Department arriving shortly after, according to Hill. 
Both lanes of I-25 southbound were closed for roughly five and a half hours as responders from the Douglas Volunteer Fire Department worked to put out the flames. Around 6 p.m. one lane was opened and by about 8:40 p.m. both southbound lanes were open again, Beck said.
The cause of the fire is unknown, according to Douglas Fire Department Operations Chief Kerry Shatto.
“It’s probably not going to be investigated more. It’s just an accident,” he stated.
Firefighters have been dispatched regularly since the accident to check on the fire. Due to the nature of hay fires, it will likely continue to slowly burn for several more days, but there is no perceived risk, Shatto said.
“We were out there three times today and four or so times yesterday. What happens is, people go by and they see a puff of smoke – where there’s smoke there’s fire – so, they call it in. It’s going to burn until it’s cleaned up,” Shatto said on the evening of May 25. 
“That grass is so green down there, I don’t see any reason why (the fire would spread). We’ve dumped so much water down on that grass, it’s pretty swampy.”
Authorities are currently examining options as to what  to do regarding the remaining hay and scrap metal which remain alongside the road.
The fire completely destroyed Hill’s truck, costing $160,000 in damages. This incident is not expected to set him back however.
“Everything is going smoothly with the insurance process. I’m actually looking at trucks as we speak,” Hill wrote in a text on the afternoon of May 25.
“I should be back on the road within the next two to three weeks.” 


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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