GARFIELD COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – An arson investigation is underway in Garfield County after more than 100 hay bales went up in flames.
“We didn’t realize the magnitude of this until we got there,” said Mike Honigsberg, the Enid and Garfield County Emergency Manager. “They were just fully involved.”
The inferno started early Friday morning along S. Stabe Road. It led to a heartbreaking wake up call for Gerald Brakhage.
“They called around 2:30,” said Brakhage. “They wanted to know if I could bring a tractor up here since my hay was on fire along the blacktop here. So, I got up as soon as I could.”
Brakhage was able to salvage some of his highly coveted alfalfa but lost 105 bales in total.
“Those bales run around $250 to $260 a piece,” said Honigsberg. “So, this was roughly $26,000 to $27,000 in hay bales lost.”
Adding insult to injury, hay has been hard to come by because of the state’s drought and Brakhage says he has about 1,000 cows to feed.
“It’s nearly an irreplaceable commodity because it’s so difficult to secure it,” said Dave Lalman, a professor and Extension Beef Cattle Specialist at Oklahoma State University. “We did a program in February talking about what to do in the case of extended drought. We didn’t think we’d still be doing the extended drought program in October.”
Investigators say they don’t have any leads on who started this fire, but they are confident it was set on purpose.
“This has been ruled arson,” said Honigsberg. “I try to tell people, stay vigilant. You know, pay attention. If you see suspicious activity, call the sheriff’s office or call 911 so we can get the proper authorities out there.”