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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Brush fire burns 25 acres

  • No injuries were reported or homes damaged Friday, Feb. 28, when a trash fire south of New London, Mo., spread to a nearby field and brought trucks from five volunteer fire departments.
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  • No injuries were reported or homes damaged Friday, Feb. 28, when a trash fire south of New London, Mo., spread to a nearby field and brought trucks from five volunteer fire departments.
    The fire, which Ralls County Deputy Rich Adair described as a “brush fire that got out of control,” burned about 25 acres before being extinguished. However, the wind direction saved a house from being endangered.
    The fire was on the property of Janice and Carl McArthur at 18905 Highway FF about two miles south of New London, Adair reported, but the wind blew it away from their home. It was reported at 12:25 p.m.
    “They were burning some trash and cardboard boxes, and it just took off,” Adair said. ”In a couple seconds the whole field was on fire, and they knew they needed help.”
    The New London Volunteer Fire Department was the first called to the fire, and it requested mutual aid from the Center firefighters, then canceled the request because they thought the fire was under control, Adair said.
    But the fire “crossed the fence and got into the field behind the house in CRP (Conservation Reserve Program).”
    He explained CRP is a farm program where “you leave the crops natural.
    “You don’t realize it is that dry,” Adair continued, but “once it hit that field with CRP, the wind took it and it just raced.
    “It was visible from Highway 61. There is a shoulder and West Side Drive and the fire was right there.”
    A storage shed in the middle of the field was destroyed by the fire, he said.
    The fire did reach two abandoned trailers, Adair said, but “they were able to put them out.”
    Although the McArthur house was not endangered by the fire, a log home on West Side Drive was temporarily evacuated. One person and some dogs were moved to a nearby vehicle while the fire was being extinguished, Adair said. “They were just moved out for extreme caution.”
    They returned to their home later Friday afternoon, and it had no damage.
    Volunteer firefighters from Center, Perry and Hannibal Rural also were called to help fight the fire, and later the Frankford Fire Department was requested to bring its brush trucks.
    Because volunteers man all the fire departments involved, Adair said, “they needed manpower” for a fire during a work day. “It is typical during the day, people are working and out of town, and you have to reach out to more companies.
    “They got extra brush trucks to drive into the fire and go after the fire as it tried to spread.”
    Page 2 of 2 - By 3:35 p.m., after fighting the fire for three hours, the firefighters were ready to depart. “They made sure it was out before they left,” Adair said.
    Five hours later, at 8:35 p.m. Friday, New London firefighters were called back to the scene after receiving a report the fire had rekindled.

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