The owner of the business estimated the loss in buildings, equipment and hay near the $10 million mark. Box Elder County Fire Marshal Corey Barton said the fire, which appeared to have started in the break room area of one of the buildings, was called in just before 10 p.m., Wednesday night. Workers had gone home about 8 p.m.
Tremonton fire crews and law enforcement officers were the first to respond to what was initially reported as “a grass fire threatening a haystack and barn” to find flames coming out of a steel building on the plant site. Firefighters discovered a propane tank “red hot,” Barton said, too hot to be cooled down with the available water.
As other firefighters arrived from Corinne, Central Box Elder Fire District and Box Elder County Fire, they staged at a safer distance and were preparing to provide more water when the propane tank exploded, sending shrapnel hundreds of yards away. One Tremonton firefighter near the tank received 2nd degree burns and was taken to Bear River Valley Hospital.
Multiple explosions continued to occur throughout the night as the fire reached forklifts and other machinery inside the buildings. The last blast was heard about 5 a.m. Fire crews remained on scene throughout the night.
Barton said because hay is the fuel source in this fire, it will likely burn for a week or more before it can be extinguished. “It’s simply a matter of letting it burn.” The State Fire Marshal will investigate the scene today to see if an exact cause can be determined.
Bailey Farms is internationally known for its hay compressing process, condensing hay for shipment all over the world. Barton said the company is still discussing what the future of the local operation will be.