MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Fire Department, with mutual aid assistance from the Central Ohio Joint Fire District and the Fredericktown Community Fire District, battled a brush fire which scorched around 15 acres of fields and trees Sunday afternoon south of Mount Vernon.
According to Chris Menapace, assistant fire chief for the MVFD, the fire is believed to have started accidentally in a manure pile at the home at 11030 New Delaware Road.
The home is owned by Kathleen Hall, who neighbors said was not at home when they first noticed the fire. Mary and Wetzel Thompson live in the home next door, and noticed the flames and smoke behind Hall’s house.
“It looked like it started there, near those pine trees,” Mary said, pointing across a pasture.
“She had just left, so I called her when I saw it and she came back and called the fire department,” Wetzel said.
Menapace said MVFD Capt. Barry Bowden responded as incident commander with an engine company and a grass truck when the call was dispatched at 3:01 p.m.
Grass trucks and personnel were requested from Fredericktown and COJFD to bring the fire under control.
Another engine company with additional water was brought from MVFD, and off-duty personnel were called in to assist and cover squad runs.
“As our water started to be depleted, we established a water supply from a small pond 500 to 600 feet off the driveway at the southeast corner of the field,” Menapace said.
Winds carried flames toward the south, spreading the fire toward the woods in the direction of Pleasant Valley Road.
Around 20 firefighters from the three departments battled the blaze using seven firefighting vehicles.
“I contacted the EPA to get them in the loop,” Menapace said, adding that the Knox County Sheriff’s Office also responded.
The fire was contained at about 4:35 p.m. Menapace said that after a brief investigation, it was determined the fire was not a result of illegal open burning, and the KCSO and EPA were not needed.
“I believe it started in the manure pile accidentally,” Menapace said. “The homeowner denied any open burning. She said the manure pile has never caught on fire in the past. Her story seemed to parallel what I saw.”