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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Explosion, fire at Moses Lake tarp company closes I-90

Smoke and flames rise above a fire burning buildings at the Inland Tarp & Liner company Friday in Moses Lake. (Associated Press)
Smoke and flames rise above a fire burning buildings at the Inland Tarp & Liner company Friday in Moses Lake. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

MOSES LAKE – A dramatic fire and explosion that sent a propane tank flying 1,000 feet burned five buildings Friday at a company that makes plastic tarps to cover haystacks and set fire to 11,000 tons of hay.

The blaze closed Interstate 90 in both directions for about two hours.

No one was injured.

The fire that engulfed the five buildings was out by late Friday afternoon, but the nearby haystacks will burn for days, Grant County sheriff’s spokesman Kyle Foreman said.

The inferno that sent up a towering mushroom cloud of flames and smoke was started accidentally by sparks generated as workers used a saw to cut metal, county Deputy Fire Marshal Nathan Poplawski said.

Calls and emails seeking comment from Inland Tarp & Liner were not immediately returned. The company has warehouses across the country.

The flames were driven by 20 mph winds and multiple propane tanks that periodically vented.

More than an hour after the fire started, a large propane tank exploded and “flew 1,000 feet down range and ignited a haystack,” Foreman said. The wind then pushed the flames into other nearby haystacks.

About 75 firefighters and law enforcement officers responded, Foreman said.

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