Tulelake, California – An early morning fire destroys a massive hay barn and farm equipment in Tulelake.
The fire broke out shortly before dawn in a storage shed next to the Newell Grain Growers Association.
“My daughter called me about 4:30 this morning, and said the hay barn was on fire,” said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hickman of the Tulelake Multi-County Fire District. “And we’ve been here since.”
The fire destroyed a structure owned by Woodhouse Farming and Seed that was nearly half a city block in size.
“It’s a hay shed, and this hay shed was plum full of one-ton bales,” said Hickman. “And they had some equipment parked in there they lost.”
Employee Jason Martinez was called in early to get some of the farm equipment out of harm’s way, but the fire was too big to save all of it. “We got a cat in there, we got two tractors in there, we got a big truck with a grain bin in there, and we got a Hyster in there.”
Fire crews from Tulelake, Merrill, and Malin were all called in to help keep the fire from spreading.
Assistant Fire Chief Hickman says investigators haven’t tracked down the cause of the fire. “No. No – not really, not yet.”
No dollar estimate of damage has been made.
But Hickman believes the fire is expected to hit the community hard. “This is a lot of crop. This is gonna hurt.”
It’s estimated that 1,000 tons of hay was burned in the fire.
No injuries have been reported.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.