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Firefighters save church, crops from blazes

By Logan Watson

Two recent fires could have been disastrous were it not for the quick action of local firefighters.

On June 20, sparks from a combine ingited a field of uncut wheat on Gibson Road just outside of the Trenton City Limits shortly after noon.

The owner of the field reported that 50 acres of wheat were destroyed, but thankfully no one was injured and the fire was extinguished before it got any worse.

“We were able to keep it from burning another 200 acres of uncut wheat,” said Gibson County Fire Chief Bryan Cathey.

Chief Cathey stated there have been a number of fires started by combines lately, but quick work by the Gibson County Fire Department, Trenton Fire Department, Forestry Service, Gibson Fire Department, Medina Fire Department and Humboldt Fire Department kept the rapidly spreading fire from destroying the whole crop.

“We were able to get out in front of it and slow it down,” Chief Cathey said. “The Trenton Fire Department has a deck gun that made a real big difference, and the brush trucks allowed us to keep it from spreading.”

Local firefighters also helped protect the China Grove Baptist Church from serious damage after trash caught fire inside a garbage truck on Wednesday, June 15.

According to reports, a Republic Services garbage truck was leaving Rutherford when the driver noticed that his load was burning.

“When that happens, their policy is to find a safe place and dump it,” Chief Cathey said.

The first safe place just happened to be in the church parking lot.

“Garbage fires and dumpster fires are some of the most dangerous calls you can respond to,” Chief Cathey explained. “You never know what people have thrown away and there are some home chemicals that can cause fires and explosions if they are mixed.”

“Our first priority was to put the trash out,” Chief Cathey continued. “We didn’t want anything to damage the church. There were two propane bottles in the burning trash, but we were able cool them down so they didn’t explode.”

The fire did not spread to the church, but did burn through the asphalt and left other areas covered in molten plastic, broken glass and other trash.

Chief Cathey said that the fire caused flammable materials to rocket across the street and into a field of cut wheat. The fire then continued North down the street and jumped a fence row into another field. Chief Cathey said that there is a possibility that the fire damaged a crop of beans planted under the cut wheat.

Chief Cathey said that while the dry conditions and winds helped the fires spread, the public is in no more danger from grass or field fires than usual and the state has not issued any burn bans.

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