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Backhoe blaze put out in Whately

  • Firefighters extinguish a smoldering tire behind a barn at Manheim Farm on River Road Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Firefighters extinguish a smoldering tire behind a barn at Manheim Farm on River Road Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo


Recorder Staff
Thursday, January 25, 2018

WHATELY — Firefighters responded in force to a fire that ignited behind a barn in the tire of a backhoe at Manheim Farm on River Road Thursday morning.

By the time emergency crews arrived around 8:30 a.m., a farm worker had mostly extinguished the fire. A garden house lay in the mud, and the stench of burning rubber lingered in the air as Whately firefighters doused the smoky tire with water.

“They were trying to start the motor and it got too hot. It appears they were using a kerosene heater to warm up the block so they could start it,” said Fire Chief John S. Hannum, noting that no one was hurt. “He held it at bay with a fire extinguisher.”

Initially, the incident was reported as a structure fire, prompting a full mutual-aid response from Whately and surrounding departments including South Deerfield, Sunderland, Conway, and Hatfield. Hannum said they were called off when the real cause was discovered.

“If there was a problem, it would have been a good thing,” Hannum said.