Hay wagon fire shuts down 522

Hay smolders on U.S. 522 in downtown Berkeley Springs after being pulled off a trailer.
photo by Bob Wurster

A trailer load of hay destined for a Virginia farm caught fire on Saturday, April 4 in downtown Berkeley Springs. The West Virginia Division of Highways shut down U.S. 522 for over an hour while firefighters pulled hay bales off the 28-ft. wagon and sprayed down the load to extinguish the fire.

James Steiner of the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company was incident commander. Fire units from Berkeley Springs and Hancock responded to the fire in the 200 block of North Washington Street. The first 911 call about the fire came in shortly before 4 p.m. Units remained on the scene until 6:14 p.m.

DOH backhoes were used to offload hay off the wagon so it could be spread onto U.S. 522 and sprayed down.

A passenger vehicle was damaged in the blaze, as fire surrounded the hay wagon at one point. The car, which was parked in front of an apartment building on Washington Street, was charred. That apartment building also had exterior heat damage, which melted the siding on the face of the structure.

No injuries were reported.

According to fire officials, the cause of the wagon fire is unknown. It is possible that the hay spontaneously combusted, as it can do, said Lt. Zachary Sipe, but there is no way to confirm that.

The hay was apparently valued at $12,000 and was destined for a farm in Virginia, according to a social media post.