Hay fire hassles
Saturday, 14th February, 2015
By Craig Brealey
A truck loaded with bales of hay catches fire on a bush road. The fire brigade rushes to the scene but the fierce blaze quickly exhausts their water supply.
That is just what the Central Fire Brigade was up against a week ago when they got a call at 6.50pm on Friday that a semi-trailer was alight some 10 kilometres from Broken Hill on the Wilcannia road.
It is not far from town but of course there were no street hydrants from which to refill the tanks so the brigade was having to drive their trucks to fill up from a hydrant at nearby Stephens Creek reservoir.
But that’s a 12km round trip and it takes 25 minutes to fill a truck and only four minutes to empty it, Qualified Firefighter Sam Carlon told the BDT.
“Hay fires are very hard to put out and this was a semi-trailer with big, square bales of hay,” he said.
The firefighters put in a call to Essential water to second one of their tankers to carry the water out to the fire.
The tanker driver kept the water coming until the early hours of Saturday morning.
“We definitely needed it,” said firefighter Carlon. “There was no other way we could have done it.
“It was appreciated quite a lot. Without it we might as well have just sat and watched it burn.”
The firies also got help from a loader driver who pushed the burning trailer off the road, the truck driver having decoupled it from his prime mover as soon as he saw smoke.
Firefighter Carlon and his colleagues came back to the Central Station at midnight for the change of shift and then the new crew went out and fought the blaze for another three and a half hours.
It had taken them nine hours all up to put the fire out and the next morning they woke to a fine and sunny 40-degree day. Nice and windy, too.
Sure enough, the call came in that the trailer had reignited and off they went to work again.