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Big Hay Blaze on I-10 Causes Traffic Snarl

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Photo: Video by kmir6.com

Big Hay Blaze on I-10 Causes Traffic Snarl

By Angela Monroe. CREATED Mar 3, 2012

Big backups on Interstate 10 after a semi-truck carrying hay burst into flames.
The hay-bales on the semi caught fire just east of the Washington exit on I-10.
The big blaze closed several lanes on the interstate, and part of Varner Road for hours.
Fierce flames and billowing smoke on Interstate 10 as crews battled the hay blaze.
No one was hurt, but the fire made it slow-going for many drivers.
Thousand Palms resident, Ray Palomino, almost ran out of gas stuck in traffic.
"A lot of traffic, a lot of havoc out there, it is kind of hard on people with the gas prices right now, I'm sure everybody's like ready to get home like me and stuff. hopefully I made it through here, because I was almost running out of gas myself," said Palomino.
The fire started around 1-30 Friday afternoon.
Edith Esparza of Thousand Palms traveled around the traffic tie-up.
"I got all worried about it, and I asked my co-worker because she lives here in Indio if she knew how to get around it, and she just told me to take Monroe, take Fred Waring, and then from there just take Indio Boulevard down to Country Club," said Esparza.
Highway Patrol also recommended alternate routes, but some people couldn't help get caught in the back-up.
We talked to the driver of the truck.
"I had my dad with me, he's 81 years old, trying to help me unhook the trailer, and man the fire was right on top of us, and we got it though, I saved the rest of the truck." said Mark Padilla.
Padilla told us what he thinks happened, "I think someone threw a cigarette, or cigar or something at it, it just went up, by the time I got to the front of the trailer it was already engulfed in flames."
Fire officials say there could be several reasons why the hay caught fire.
"Its undetermined at this time if it was a cigarette tossed from a vehicle, or hot carbon from the exhaust of the truck or spontaneous combustion from the hay itself," said fire captain specialist, Mort Allen.
Varner Road opened back up right before six Friday night.
All lanes of westbound interstate 10 by the washington exit are now open.