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Fire Chief Explains Fiery Bee Cleanup [AUDIO]

4.25 bees close Highway 220, Daniel Sandoval, K2 Radio
Daniel Sandoval, K2 Radio

An accident involving a truck loaded with honey bees temporarily forced the closure of highway 220  just west of Casper yesterday.  The cleanup took much of the day ending with destruction by fire of the damaged hives. K2 Radio’s Karen Snyder spoke with, Chief Mark Harshman, of Casper Fire-Ems, who says this wasn’t the first bee cleanup for local emergency responder.

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Yesterdays bee cleanup on Highway 220 wasn’t the first for local emergency responders.

Chief Mark Harshman for Casper Fire-Ems says, they happen once in a while, but, he says this vehicle accident left them with a number of issues to deal with all at once, “One being, leaking diesel fuel from the semi truck. So that was contained. There was the emergency medical aspect dealing with the driver of the pickup truck. That gentleman was transported to the hospital. And then there was the aftermath of the beehives littering the highway.”

The collision happened around 9am when the semi, in transit from Montana to Colorado, was sideswiped by a pick up truck. The highway was closed for nearly six hours as responders worked to clean up the mess.

Harshman says a local bee keeper arrived with bee suits for sheriff’s deputies and others to wear. Harshman says after talking with local keepers they determined the bees should not be dispersed and would have to be destroyed.

“They were a different variety than the local bees and it’s my understanding that those two varieties don’t get along very well with each other.”

Harshman believes the proportion of bees lost were a small percentage of all that were on the truck. The fallen broken hives were doused with fuel and burned off before traffic was allowed through. He says some responders did get stung, but with no adverse effect.

“Some ‘bee-folks’ told us that last night’s temperature would probably have an effect on the remaining bees to where they probably wouldn’t become a problem in town.”

The driver of the pick up was reportedly treated and released yesterday

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