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Hay inside a barn located at 13847 148th Ave. S.E. spontaneously combusted.

A nearly century-old barn owned by a family in the Bald Hills area is still standing after hay within the structure spontaneously combusted Thursday evening, charring and damaging support beams inside.

Firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 13847 148th Ave. SE at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11. A caller reported large amounts of smoke and flames from the gables of the 30-foot abandoned barn.

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Livestock feed and hay were some of the damaged goods inside the 2,500-square-foot structure.

No injuries were reported.

Bald Hills Fire Protection District 17, the Southeast Thurston Fire Authority and Tenino Fire District 4 responded to the call, according to Bald Hills Deputy Chief Steven Slater, the site commander.

Upon arrival, responders were able to set up a defensive line and put out the fire quickly. The scene was cleared around 10:45 p.m.

“Given the small pile of hay, that’s what likely caused it,” Slater said.

The hay was likely smoldering for most of the day because of excess moisture, he said. Precipitation had been recorded in the days leading up to the fire.

Oscar Hernandez, who owns and manages the property with his wife Nicole, said he lost a modest amount of hay and livestock feed, which he uses to feed his cows and goats.

Without help from firefighters, Oscar Hernandez said their farm would likely have been a total loss.

“For my wife, it’s sentimental,” he said Friday from inside the still-standing barn. “She used to play up here in the loft.”

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