Arson suspected in hay bale blaze

BUCKHANNON — A fire that destroyed nearly 80 bales of hay on the Hawkins Road is under investigation as possible arson.

Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department chief Jamie Pugh said his department was paged out at 11:55 p.m. Wednesday.

As Pugh was traveling to the hay bale fire, the firefighters discovered another fire.

“We came up on another fire. Someone had set a fire in the ditch line about a mile before the hay bale fire,” Pugh said. “It was toned out as a hay bale fire, so I asked comm center if they were sure there were hay bales, and they said yes. That’s when I told them to be advised there was another fire.”

“We had another truck coming and they stopped to take care of the ditch and we went on to the hay bale fire,” Pugh said.

When the firefighters arrived on the scene, they discovered that every hay bale was on fire.

“There were 78 hay bales there,” he said.

Additional units responded from Washington District Volunteer Fire Department and Buckhannon Fire Department. The Upshur County EMS also responded as a precaution.

“We unrolled the hay bales and let them burn themselves out,” Pugh said. “It was a long night. We cleared the scene around 5 a.m.”

The Upshur County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the possible arson. Because there were no structures, the State Fire Marshal’s office would not investigate, according to Pugh.

It was a busy night for firefighters around the county as there were three separate fires within three hours.

Another fire was reported on Natural Bridge Road in the southern end of the county Wednesday night at 8:36 p.m.

The Banks District Volunteer Fire Department and Adrian Volunteer Fire Department responded, according to BDVFD chief John Roby.

When firefighters arrived on scene, there was about a 50-by-200-foot area under fire that was put out in about 30 minutes.

“Once we got there with people and equipment it didn’t take long to get it out,” Roby said.

The fire is being investigated by regional forester Jason Jones with the W.Va. Division of Forestry in conjunction with Roby.

Adrian VFD also responded to what was initially called in as a dumpster fire Wednesday night, but that turned out to be a controlled burn at the Adrian Apartments, according to Adrian VFD chief Rick Harlow.

Someone was burning brush, according to Harlow.


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