HARTLINE - Residual heat left over from Friday’s haystack fire is forcing utility crews to hold off on repairs, leaving dozens in the dark overnight.
At around 3 p.m., Grant County Fire District 6 Chief Dennis Pinar says crews were called out to a fire that eventually consumed 2,500 tons of hay. The fire supposedly started at around 2:30 p.m.; its cause is still under investigation.
The blaze was contained to the haystack’s footprint, but the flames did consume about 200 ft. of fiber optic internet cable and destroyed one power pole.
Grant PUD officials say damage done by the fire resulted in a fiber internet outage for residents in Electric City and Grand Coulee until around 6:30 p.m.
PUD crews cut the power to several other poles to prevent the fire from spreading. The PUD will keep the power off until the heat from the blaze cools down and crews can safely do repairs on the pole that was damaged.
Grant County Fire District 6 put out the following message:
“There have been questions raised about why we are not putting the fire out. Initially this was 2,500 tons of straw. Thanks to Chief Pinar from Almira and some quick math here is the reason.
‘It had 12.5 billion btu’s It would have taken 10 million gallons to extinguish that fire! That would have been 10,000 trucks holding a 1000 gallons each! That’s why hay stacks are left to burn out!’”
Initially, 232 customers lost power, but most have been resorted. However, 49 homes do not have electricity at this time as crews wait for the blaze to burn out. Utility officials expect to fully restore power by noon on Sunday.