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Hay ignites barn fire in Berkeley County

June 27, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Tuesday morning barn fire off Winebrenner Road might have been caused by hay bales that apparently were somewhat wet when stored in the structure a few weeks ago, said Marty Roberts, chief of the Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department.

Emergency dispatchers were notified at 6:03 a.m. of the fire at 890 Winebrenner Road after one of the owners reported smelling burning hay, officials said.

Roberts estimated damage was less than $10,000, and "roughly 50 to 80 roll bales" were removed from the barn with hay forks mounted on two tractors, he said. Some poles were burned, but still appeared structurally sound to Roberts.

"The farmer was very thankful," Roberts said.

Farm owners Scott and Becky Daniel were not immediately available for comment.

Without accessible fire hydrants, Roberts said firefighters from six departments essentially performed a "rural water movement" exercise with tanker trucks.

Roberts said the fire appeared to have ignited because of fermentation, and was burning for some time before it found air and became apparent Friday morning.

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Joining Baker Heights personnel at the farm were crews from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bedington (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department, Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department, South Berkeley Volunteer Fire Department, Independent Fire Department in Ranson, W.Va., and the Berkeley County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

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