Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
PACKWOOD — The Packwood Fire Department responded to a field fire Tuesday afternoon, which they put out before it could damage any equipment or endanger anyone’s life.
The fire department received a call at 3:30 p.m. that day of a fire near the intersection of 140th Street and Ironwood Avenue southeast of Packwood, at the farm run by the father-son tandem of Mike and Aaron Ledger. Packwood Fire Chief Jeremy Atwood said firefighters arrived on the scene at 3:50, and by 4:48 p.m. they had put the fire out and were back in service.
Assisting the Packwood Fire Department were departments from Richland and Fairfield. Packwood had about 15 firefighters on the scene, while Fairfield and Richland each sent about nine.
“All of our department is volunteer, and a good share of our guys work in ag,” Atwood said. “Even though the guys are busy this time of year, we had a good response. They’ll drop what they’re doing and make sure to help someone in need.”
Atwood said the fire burned a cornfield that was partially harvested. He said it was likely caused by a spark from the combine that was harvesting the field.
“It looked to me like it was a spark off the back of the combine where a little piece of metal was hitting another piece of metal,” Atwood said. “It’s not uncommon to see field fires now. It takes as little as a bearing going out, and a bit of hot grease to fall on the ground to start a fire.”
Atwood said the driver of the combine, Aaron Ledger, was making a pass to harvest corn, and when he turned the combine around, he noticed the fire in the field. He got out of his combine and got into a tractor with a disk on the back. Ledger disced a line around the fire to stop it from spreading. Atwood credited Ledger’s quick-thinking for limiting the damage.
“Once a fire gets into cornstalks, it’s hard to put out, because we have a hard time getting enough water on it,” Atwood said. “By discing a perimeter around it, he turned up enough dirt that the fire couldn’t cross it, and that helped contain it.”
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