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Spontaneous Combustion Kills 110 Cows, Puts Firefighters on Defense

Spontaneous Combustion Kills 110 Cows, Puts Firefighters on Defense

A large barn in the 10000 block of Oak Hill Road near Woodsboro was destroyed by fire Sunday afternoon. A column of smoke could be seen from Frederick. The fire spread so quickly that firefighters were forced to take a defensive position and protect nearb

April 06, 2010

WOODSBORO, Md. —The Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the spontaneous combustion of tightly compacted hay bales caused a barn fire Sunday in the 10200 block of Oak Hill Road.

Marc McNeal, chief fire marshal at the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services, said a worker in the 75- by 400-foot barn was moving some hay bales when a fire began in the section of the barn housing them.

The worker told officials the fire quickly ignited the hay and spread rapidly through the barn, McNeal wrote in an e-mail.

About 170 cows were inside the barn when the fire started. About 60 made it out, McNeal wrote.

Fire damage is estimated at roughly $750,000, said Mike Dmuchowski, spokesman for the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services.

Fire officials, including firefighters from New Midway Volunteer Fire Co. and the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Rescue Co., were called to the scene at about 12:45 p.m., Dmuchowski said.

Smoke from the fire was visible from Frederick shortly after it started.

A firefighter from New Midway was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital for evaluation, but McNeal wrote he did not know the status of that firefighter.

Marydon Ford was driving nearby when she saw billowing smoke from the barn getting higher and blacker.

Arriving near the scene on Legore Bridge Road, Ford said she saw flames at one end of the barn suddenly erupt.

“People were running everywhere,” she said.

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