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MFD extinguishes tractor fire south of Menno

Hutchinson Herald of Menno, South Dakota

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Members of the Menno Fire Department put out a tractor that had started on fire south of Menno Friday morning, July 24.

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 11:45 a.m. in response to an Agco White tractor on fire about a mile south of the Menno city limits. The tractor, which was owned by Brian Herrboldt, was fully engulfed in flames by the time responders reached the scene.

Scott Simonsen, chief of the Menno Fire Department, said the tractor was being driven to Mettler Implement in Menno to have work done on it when the horn on the machine malfuntioned. The driver stopped the tractor and disconnected wires leading to the horn. At that point, the tractor stopped running, and then started up again, followed by smoke entering the cabin, Simonsen said.

"It was definitely an electrical issue of some sort," Simonsen said. "More than likely what happened was the wires on the horn must have melted together and shorted out."

It took firefighters about five minutes to put out the bulk of the fire, which spewed black smoke visible for miles around. A good deal of time was spent putting out the right rear tire, which stubbornly refused to die. The tractor was facing north in the northbound lane on 431st Avenue.

Nobody was injured as a result of the fire.

Simonsen said the tractor appeared to be a total loss, though he thought parts like the loader could be salvaged. He did not have an estimate on the value of the tractor Simonsen said about a dozen members of the department showed up to help fight the fire. Also responding to the incident was the Hutchinson County Sheriff Department, the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Menno Police Department.

The fire was only the second time in 2015 that the Menno Fire Department has had an actual blaze to combat, Simonsen said.

While the Menno Fire Department has responded to several calls in 2015, this was the first where firefighters actually had to battle flames, Simonsen said. He said fire calls are down overall compared to this time 2014.

"We had a dozen calls by this time last year," Simonsen said. "It goes in spurts like that. Some years we will have 25 or 30 fires, the next year you'll have half a dozen."

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Original Publication Date: July 30, 2015

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