Pest control technician comes to rescue when load of hay catches fire on Red Hills Parkway

ST. GEORGE — A pickup truck hauling a trailer loaded with hay caught fire on Red Hills Parkway Tuesday afternoon, and thanks to a pest control technician who pulled over to help, the fire was kept at bay until fire engines arrived.

Updated Oct. 7, 2:05 p.m.: Wade Beatty, with Western Pest Control, reached out to St. George News via email advising that Scott Carroll, a 5-year veteran with the company, was the technician who stopped to help when he saw the truck on the side of Red Hills Parkway with smoke coming from the load of hay.

“He had 100 gallons of fresh-unmixed water on his rig and saw an opportunity to help,” Beatty stated in the email to St. George News.
Beatty went on to explain that Western’s policy is to have their techs to do an act of service outside pest control at every appointment. “I guess Scott went above and beyond,” he added.
Fire burns through compressed hay after catching fire in a trailer being pulled by pickup truck on Red Hills Parkway, St. George, Utah, Oct. 6, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The fire was reported shortly before 4 p.m., when firefighters and emergency personnel were dispatched to the northbound side of Red Hills Parkway where flames could be seen coming from a trailer stacked with bales of hay.

The fire was burning though the hay located primarily on the driver’s side of the trailer, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.

Firefighters doused the flames from above the trailer, where the fire burned toward the middle of the highly compressed hay bales. Some of the bales had to be taken apart to get to flames that continued to smolder in order to prevent them from reigniting later.

At the time of the incident, the driver was heading west on Red Hills Parkway when he noticed smoke coming from the trailer, Stoker said, and then pulled off on the right shoulder to inspect the load. He saw smoke and flames coming from the hay bales stacked toward the middle of the load, which is when a technician with a local pest control company saw the smoke and pulled over to help.

The technician got out and started dousing the flames using water from his truck, Stoker said, until firefighters arrived and were able to extinguish the blaze.

Westbound traffic on Red Hills Parkway is backed up following an incident involving a trailer loaded with hay that caught fire on Red Hills Parkway, St. George, Utah, Oct. 6, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“That guy kept the fire pretty much knocked down until we could get here,” he added.

Stoker said the owner of the trailer would be returning with large straps to secure the partially damaged load before returning it to the Veyo area, as the ropes that secured the load were damaged in the fire.

While many of the bales were damaged, either by fire or water, there were several on the passenger’s side of the trailer that remained intact and could be salvaged. Even so, it can retain a smell that makes it inedible for livestock, Stoker said, explaining that it can have “a weird taste, and they won’t eat it.”

Fire crews checked the trailer to determine what could have caused the fire, including inspecting the chains linking the trailer to the pickup to determine if they could have been dragging along the asphalt, which could have sparked a fire. But the driver twisted the chains to take up any slack, Stoker said, which prevented them from dragging, and they appeared to be intact and undamaged.

Crews also checked the load and the trailer for any other potential causes, but none were found. Stoker mentioned that a lit cigarette thrown from a vehicle could have sparked the fire, but at this point, the cause remains to be determined.

Westbound travel was impacted for more than an hour as traffic was diverted into a single lane to make room for two fire engines that were parked along the outside lane, allowing responders to remove loose hay and debris from the shoulder. The pickup and trailer remained undamaged, and no injuries were reported.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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