Cause of Fire off I-82 is Rare - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cause of Fire off I-82 is Rare

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BENTON CITY, Wash.--In this case, fire officials say a circuit breaker popped, shooting hot metal onto the ground of sagebrush below. It happened near milepost 101 off of I-82 a little after 1:30p.m Saturday afternoon.

Only four acres burned, largely in part because winds were blowing from the northeast. Had they been coming from the west, fire would've definitely spread fast.

Circuit breaker fires are fairly uncommon, but over the years, Benton County Fire District #4 Chief Ed Dunbar says the area has seen a few cases.

"We've had several fires over the last few years that had been caused by circuit breakers on powerpoles activating and the hot material that falls down which is molten metal in the sheetgrass and can cause a fire," says Chief Dunbar.

Firefighters from Benton County Fire District 4 and Richland were on hand to battle the blaze. Drivers could see smoke as they were leaving Benton City. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.