BAKERSFIELD, Calif., On October 12th, 2023 at approximately 12:40 p.m. Kern County firefighters were dispatched to a report of a semi-truck on fire on westbound California State Route 58, two miles east of General Beale Rd. As firefighters arrived, they found a semi trailer hauling bee hive boxes fully involved with fire. The trailer was pulled over on the shoulder with the tractor disconnected and parked a safe distance away. The fire had begun to spread into the nearby dry grass on the north side of the highway and was approximately 1/4 acre in size.
Contact was made with the driver of the truck and it was confirmed that he was uninjured. It was revealed that the bees had been delivered to their destination prior to the start of the fire and were at that moment safe and sound.
Faced with a trailer fire and a growing vegetation fire, the KCFD incident commander directed an attack on both fronts. As more firefighters arrived on scene, the vegetation fire was quickly stopped and extinguished allowing all resources to focus on the flaming trailer.
The bee hive boxes, thankfully empty of bees, were a challenge to extinguish. Made of wood and full of bees wax, it was necessary to tear apart the stacks of boxes to quench the burning. KCFD fire engines delivered water to the incident, shuttling back and forth, supplying the firefight.
The incident commander requested the assistance of the KCFD Fire Heavy Equipment Facility to break apart the stacks of boxes.
Kern County Fire Heavy Equipment Specialists are experienced operators, capable of using KCFD dozers, graders, excavators, back hoes and other large and powerful equipment to assist in emergency operations. This specialty division of the KCFD sent their finest and made quick and safe work of spreading out the smoldering boxes for extinguishment.
There were no injuries reported. The cause was likely mechanical failure from overheating brakes.