CERRO GORDO, Ill. (WCIA) — A fire truck was destroyed yesterday during a field fire, but the quick action of nearby farmers stopped it from being a lot worse.
It happened near the Piatt-Macon County line about 10 minutes south of Cerro Gordo. That was one of several field fires yesterday, all throughout central Illinois. Luckily, in this case, there were farmers around when this happened, ready to drop everything and help. Farmer Edward Yoder lives just down the road.
“I was in the shop doing some work, and my wife comes in and said looks like there’s a fire to the east of us. I went outside and it was just gray and really bad lookin’ smoke. There was this huge plume of smoke,” said Yoder. He went out to that area to help. There, he found a Cerro Gordo fire truck.
“It was out in the middle of the field, burning. I drove up, got out, and I walked out to one of the fire members from Cerro Gordo fire department.” He asked fire crews if there was anything he could do.
“He said, ‘Do you got a tractor or disc?’ I said yes. He said, ‘Can you bring it down here?’ I said, ‘Sure,'” he explained. “When I showed up with a tractor and disc, I cut across from Ocean Trail where you see that house and trees over there, came down that side, then I could see a lot of fire in the cornfield, so I just started going after the fire in the cornfield.”
The fire scorched through around 500 acres of farmland, but that number could be even higher, had Yoder and other farmers not been there.
“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, turns out. I wasn’t looking for this. I don’t think nobody is. I was glad to do what little I could do,” he said. “It really takes equipment… soil on the fire to stop it, and it’s just hard to do with their trucks.”
That was Cerro Gordo’s secondary engine. They have another one. Other departments have offered to loan one if they need it. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it likely came from a limb or trash fire.