Damage is in the millions following a hay plant fire near Lethbridge, crews remain on scene

Click to play video: 'Green Prairie International ‘moving forward’ after massive hay fire near Lethbridge'
Green Prairie International ‘moving forward’ after massive hay fire near Lethbridge
Earlier this week, a fire started east of Lethbridge, engulfing a large hay warehouse. The fire was still burning on Friday, but those affected by the estimated $5 million loss are looking on the bright side. Eloise Therien has more – Jul 2, 2021

Damage is estimated at approximately $5 million after a massive fire at a hay plant east of Lethbridge Wednesday evening.

The fire broke out shortly after 7 p.m. in a 58,000-square-foot warehouse at Green Prairie International.

Read more: Fire destroys hay bale storage unit near Magrath

Firefighters from Lethbridge and Coaldale responded, as well as RCMP and Lethbridge police.

Thick black smoke billowed from the fire for several hours Wednesday evening and could be seen from as far away as Magrath.

Gerrit Sinke, the deputy fire chief of the Lethbridge Fire Department, said crews were working to contain and observe the fire into Friday.

“The key focus was not to save the building (but) to make sure that the rest of the property was safe,” he explained.

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He said there are several reasons the fire is still burning and will likely continue to burn for several days.

“Secondly, if all we do is just put out the hay, you’re dealing with a huge pile of garbage really, so right now, we’re monitoring it, we’re making sure the area is safe, but we’re also allowing it to burn in a safe manner.”

Click to play video: 'Emergency crews battle fire at hay plant near Lethbridge'
Emergency crews battle fire at hay plant near Lethbridge

John Van Hierden, CEO and president of Green Prairie, said he wasn’t at work when the fire started.

“I was just on the way to a graduation ceremony. I was just a half-mile down the road,” said Van Hierden.

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Nobody was hurt, and Van Hierden is glad the situation wasn’t worse. He said the company plans to rebuild the warehouse in due time.

“We’re already looking at plans, looking at ideas, looking at how we’re going to do it, and safety first, of course,” he said.

“(We’re) just basically focused on moving forward.”
The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.

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