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Barn at an organic dairy farm near St. Paul ignites, burning hundereds of thousands of dollars worth of hay

ST. PAUL FIRE DISTRICT - Barn full of hay ignited spontaneously near St. Paul.On Sunday, multiple fire districts responded to a barn fire at the organic dairy farm, Sar-Ben Farms, on River Road near St. Paul.

St. Paul Fire District was the first to respond, arriving at the 120-foot long building that was full of hay that had spontaneously combusted. Aurora Fire District, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Woodburn Fire District and Dundee Fire District also responded to the blaze, which was contained to one structure.

"The good thing was that no other structures became involved — that's a win for us," St. Paul Fire Chief Bryan Lee said.

Lee said that there was a nearby wooden structure, and if it caught fire, it could have been a direr scenario.

St. Paul Fire spokesman Mark Daniel said that the estimated damages were between $200,000 and $300,000 worth of hay. There were no injuries.ST. PAUL FIRE DISTRICT - Barn full of hay ignited spontaneously near St. Paul.

"Nothing was damaged to the building, fortunately," Lee said. "It's a metal structure, and we were able to keep the flames down to save it from damage, just some black soot is all."

Crews arrived at around 10:30 a.m. and poured water on the hay until about 3 p.m. They affixed a sprinkler to the site and left for about an hour and a half, but had to come back and put some more water on it where the sprinkler could not reach.

Daniel added that barn fires such as this type continue to burn until all of the hay has had a chance to be removed, spread on the farmer's field, and burns out.

Lee said area firefighters have seen a few hay fires over the years.

"When we get these (hay) fires, we can't put them out; it's just not possible," Lee said. "We have to tear everything in the structure apart and put it out in the field to let it smolder out, and that takes days."

In addition to fire equipment, firefighters had to use a front-end loader and a track hoe to get the job done. They were grateful to have strong support from the community and neighboring communities.

"The St. Paul Fire District would like to thank our mutual aid partners for their assistance today," Daniel noted. "We would also like to mention the area farmers who have volunteered their assistance today."

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