JACKSON COUNTY, Alabama – A community in northern Alabama will smell smoke for days after cotton bales caught fire Thursday morning.
Hollywood cotton farmer faces huge loss after 100 cotton bales are burned in a fire. Smoke could be seen miles from the scene, but the blaze is under control. The farmer has no idea how this could have happened and neither do the firefighters.
“They’ve never had this before. Hay does this more often than cotton, but they never had cotton, ”said Patrick Allen, the City of Hollywood Fire Chief.
Allen said teams responded just after 8 a.m. Thursday after someone on Highway 72 reported a huge cloud of smoke coming from the field. Allen posted some spectacular photos on the Hollywood Fire and Rescue Facebook page of the scene. He says the smoke will be in the air for days.
Allen told News 19: “The rains have helped it a bit, but you’re going to smell it in the air for at least a week, I would say.”
Allen has little idea how cotton might ignite at random, but he compared it to how hay would ignite under the rays of the sun. He said hay creates its own heat and can ignite in no time.
With a large amount of oxygen, cotton becomes combustible.
“Well, like I said, this has never happened to them before. To my knowledge, they haven’t. This is the first time for us that we are dealing with cotton bales. We handled a bunch of hay bales, but we had never handled cotton bales before, ”Allen said.
Allen says the fire was immediately sprayed with water and there is no way to get an estimate of the monetary loss once the investigation is complete.
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