Plant fire destroys 300 tons of hay
A spectacular fire at the Cremona Forage Processors plant on Wednesday afternoon destroyed about 300 tons of hay and the large steel shed it was being stored in.
Owner Gil Dalziel says although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, he is “99 per cent sure” it was caused by a mechanical problem.
“I don’t know exactly how many bales we lost, but it was about 300 tons of hay,” said Dalziel. “There was a combination of processed bales and unprocessed bales in the shed.
“We don’t know for sure what caused it. The fire investigator is coming out. We think it was something mechanical, that something overheated. The two fellows who were working in the shed shut down at 3 o’clock for coffee and when they came back 15 minutes later it was too much fire to put out ourselves.
“We are 99 per cent sure it was mechanical, because we don’t know what else it could be. It certainly wasn’t a lightning strike.”
There were no reports of injuries in the mishap.
The fire started shortly after 3 p.m. in one of several large storage sheds on the property, located on Highway 580 east of Cremona.
Firefighters from Carstairs, Sundre, Cremona-Water Valley, Didsbury and Olds all attended the blaze.
“The firefighters were very good. They kept it from spreading to other buildings and that was great. They contained the loss. They did very good water hauling. It was excellent.”
The company is fully insured, he said, noting a damage estimate has not been released.
“It is significant but I don’t want to put a number on it right now,” he said. “The shed was destroyed, but it was fully insured.”
Last week’s blaze was the first at the plant since 1995.
Dalziel says since no hay processing equipment was destroyed in the blaze, production at the facility should not be impacted.
“It should have no effect,” he said. “I expect we will be taking the long weekend off and be back working on Tuesday.”