MOUNT VERNON — An electrical flaw in a combine set fire to a soybean field Friday afternoon on the John Parr farm, north of Sycamore Road, two miles west of Ohio 586.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Mat Whims said he was on Ohio 13 at Utica and saw a big cloud of smoke to the north and called in the fire. He followed the smoke to get the exact location.
The heavy cloud of bluish smoke was carried on a high blustery wind as far north as Big Run Road southeast of Gambier where College Township Firefighter Doug McLarlan thought something in their district was burning.
Mount Vernon Fire Chief Shawn Christy said they received the call at 1:07 p.m. and sent an engine to the scene. When they learned the fire was burning over 30 acres, he called for mutual aid from College, Homer, Bladensburg and Utica fire departments for grass firefighting trucks and a tanker.
Along with a fire truck and a tanker that holds 5,000 gallons of water, and water on the grass trucks, there was enough water to put out the fire. Another grass truck was ready to pump water from a supply in the event it was needed, Christy said.
The fire spread to the east side of the field and a few feet into neighboring woods. Chirsty said a tree caught fire but firefighters soon extinguished the flames. He said they had the fire contained by 2:20 p.m. and firefighters with water spray from the grass trucks doused what flames were left.
Farming the land is Rick Piar who told Christy he lost 20,000 bushels of soybeans where the fire burned over the field. About 30 acres was burned in the field that encompasses more than 100 acres of soybeans. The combine sustained over $5,000 of damage, Piar said.