How quickly our day's plans changed. And yet, it could have been so much worse.
The Farmer went out to do chores this morning, and immediately noticed the plume of black smoke from the vicinity of the compost facility. He ran.
What he found was the beginning of this. He quickly surmised that a skid steer (a.k.a. bobcat) on fire with fuel in it was more than he could handle on his own. He ran back up to the house, while dialing 911. He called to me that the skid steer was on fire, and he was going to "get the truck".
He is a part-time, on-call firefighter, and the station is a mile from our farm. Good odds. Yet look at how close that skid steer was to the edge of the barn.
In the meantime, I alerted my dad about the fire by phone. He was able to move the tractor out of the barn, just in case the fire spread. I alerted my in-laws by banging on their door and yelling FIRE! I grabbed one of the house fire extinguishers, and asked them to bring more.
The fire extinguishers were useless, which The Farmer knew. But sometimes you just have to try. I watched and waited, wishing there was something I could do to keep the barn from starting on fire. There is no water close to this area, and just as I had determined to go struggle with 100 feet of hose in an effort to cool things off, the fire trucks started to arrive.
Finally they began squirting water. The flames quickly turned to smoke.
But those flames were persistent, and came back. Rubber tires don't really stop burning until they decide they are ready to stop.
The firefighters chose to drag the skid steer away from the building. Good thing we have a tractor handy, and some log chain.
In addition to the water, the firefighters used foam to completely extinguish the flames.
I think we will have to go shopping for a new skid steer. This one has been such a handy tool that we have come to depend on it for many things. It is a disappointing loss. But we are so grateful to God that the barns did not catch fire. It could have been so much worse.