• Last modified 1204 days ago (Dec. 30, 2020)


Massive fire threatens farmstead

Staff writer

Hillsboro fire chief Ben Steketee said it was “some kind of miracle” that firefighters were able to save a homestead surrounded on three sides by a fast spreading grass fire Wednesday.

“I can’t scientifically explain how we got it out,” Steketee said.

Steketee said he got to the residence of William and Cathleen Fish at 894 190th Rd. before the first fire truck arrived and used barrels of water from his pickup to try to put out the leading edge of the fire as it raced toward the farm house.

He quickly decided there would be no way to save the house, so he went to the door and told Cathy Fish to gather important things and evacuate immediately.

The speed of the fire was driven by northwest wind with gusts of up to 45 mph.

The home was surrounded on three sides and the fire was close enough to catch a row of round bales and trash behind a shed on fire as it ate up grassland and ditches along both Holly and 190th Rds.

Firefighters from Hillsboro, Goessel and Lehigh responded. So did a few neighboring farmers, who plowed ahead of the fire to cut off its fuel supply.

“It’s concerning because if it had crossed the road, that would have been worse,” Steketee said.

Although the house was untouched by the blaze, two sheds and the row of round bales burned.

Steketee said Wednesday’s cold temperatures were not a factor in fighting the fire.

“It was the wind,” he said.

Cathy Fish said the fire was very frightening and she is thankful to the fire departments who came to save her home.

The fire was started by embers from a neighbor’s brush fire the day before. The neighbor had covered the embers to prevent that fire from spreading, but Wednesday’s high winds caused the embers to reignite.

Last modified Dec. 30, 2020