GEARY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Drivers along Interstate 70 might have wondered what was behind a huge plume of smoke near the Riley and Geary County line Monday.
Around 9 AM, a tractor trailer carrying hay bales to Oklahoma caught fire at Exit 316 for Deep Creek Road.
The driver managed to pull off the interstate and crews from both Geary and Riley County helped douse the burning bales.
Officials think a problem with the truck's suspension led to the fire.
"There was a semi flat bed trailer pulling 34 round bales of hay and
it appears that maybe a tire on the trailer may have rubbed against the load, caused it to burn and we lost about 33 bales, I believe. The truck was off here on the side road. We did what we could to suppress with fire hoses but we couldn't get close because the bales were stacked high and we didn't want them to fall off on the men and ladies that were there. So one of the deputies from Geary County went over to find a local farmer with a tractor that had a hay fork on it and KDOT brought over a bucket loader to help unload the hay bales and push them off of the trailer so that we could manage them a little better," said Brian Clark, Assistant Fire Chief for Geary County.
The truck driver was not injured and the front of the truck was not damaged. The trailer, however, was destroyed according to fire officials.
Clark says deputies and fire crews will be keeping an eye on the smoldering bales and believes they will continue to smoke for several more days. They are located near the entrance ramp for the westbound lanes.
"They're in a safe area. It's a KDOT area where they keep sand and things like that so there's nothing that can burn other than the hay," Clark added.