On Sunday afternoon, a controlled burn north of Fairbury got out of hand, igniting a hay in a building north of Fairbury. Despite the quick response from emergency personnel, the fire destroyed the building.
Judd Stewart, Assistant Fire Chief of the Fairbury Rural Fire Department, explained that the building is a total loss, but that they were still able to save some of the contents of the building, including fuel tanks.
“When I arrived on scene, the roof of the building was on fire, and it started to spread in the upper level of the building,” said Stewart. “The attic was filled with hay, so we knew there was going to be a lot of heat and a lot of fuel. The fire was contained pretty much to the upper level, and we were able to get in and get a bunch of stuff out. There were two fuel tanks—one was empty and the other was full—we were able to get those out without incident.”
The Fairbury Rural Fire Department arrived to the scene with crews from the Fairbury City Fire Department. They requested mutual aid from other area departments to help get the blaze under control.
“We requested ladder 50 to provide some aerial support,” Stewart said. “Once we got our tanks in, we requested mutual aid from Jansen and Daykin because we knew we were going to be pumping a lot of water.”
The crews faced challenges in battling this fire, including the location of the fire in rural Jefferson County, Stewart explained, though they were able to overcome the challenges and stop the blaze from spreading to nearby structures.
“The location was a bit of a problem, but we were still able to take care of it and get the scene under control,” said Stewart. “The heat caused some problems too. This is the first fire of the year that we’ve had in this kind of heat, so we’ve had to have a few guys take more breaks than they’re used to, but we wanted people to be safe.”
Stewart noted that prior to crews arriving on scene, the fire had spread to an adjacent building, though it was easily extinguished with a garden hose. He explained that it took roughly 30 minutes to contain the fire, but that the crews remained on scene to clear the hay from the building so that it could burn in a contained manner, without causing more damage. He deemed the building to be a total loss. He is grateful for the help of the mutual aid departments for providing water and support, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for controlling traffic to the area and for the help of the Jefferson County Ambulance for providing rehab support to the crews.