BENNETT, Colo. (KDVR) — A truck fire that shut down Interstate 70 for nearly five hours on Saturday turned out to belong to a local animal rescue.
Tuff’s Animal Rescue out of Bennett was hauling hay to feed their livestock at their ranch when it caught on fire along I-70 on Saturday.
Paul Skaggs was the one driving the truck that was hauling the trailer and hay when he smelled smoke and saw the flames in his rearview mirror.
“It was very nerving to see that much hay up in flames,” Skaggs said.
None of the hay was salvageable and the trailer was a total loss. The owners of the rescue said it’s already taken a hit to their operation.
Skaggs said the hay cost a ton of money, but the trailer loss is the worst part for them, it’s worth around $20,000.
“Without the trailer, we can’t get the hay and without the hay, we can’t feed the animals,” Skaggs said. “The importance of being able to transport our hay ourselves instead of someone else is huge because it’s thousands of dollars more to have someone else transport your grain and your hay and stuff.”
Without the trailer, their work of livestock love and education becomes a little bit tougher.
“The biggest mission of our ranch is education, to teach kids where their food comes from, teach farm to table and to help kids get excited about agriculture because agriculture is a dying field,” said Skaggs.
The official cause of the fire is still undetermined, but regardless they hope to bounce back soon. The Bennett Fire Department, according to Skaggs, believes that the hay may have been a little too wet. When hay is wet and bound up, it generates heat, and when you have enough heat and 60 mph winds on the interstate an ignition can happen.
There has been a GoFundMe set up by a fellow rancher to help replace that lost trailer. They hope the money raised can buy them a new trailer and a large supply of hay. You can find that GoFundMe here.