Corn dryer catches fire, but not much burns

Published 9:06 am Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Smoke billowed Monday afternoon from a corn dryer, resulting in minimal property damage. And where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Corn chaff was burned into chunks resembling charcoal, but the crop was undamaged at the farm of Kenny and Cindy Lamping, just east of I-35 on State Line Road.

Firefighters from the Emmons Fire Department arrived at the farm just before 3 p.m. and removed several burned chunks of chaff from the dryer. They stayed at the scene to guard against the possibility of the fire reigniting under the windy conditions prevailing at the time

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The Lampings saw smoke above the dryer and investigated the situation.

“Kenny went up the stairs by the dryer and opened the door. When he did the smoke just expanded,” Cindy Lamping said.

She then telephoned the fire department. The corn in the dryer was then carefully removed, and showed no signs of scorching. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. The corn dryer also showed no evidence of damage upon inspection.

According to statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 20,000 fires on U.S. agricultural properties each year between 1996 and 1998. The fires include those in and around facilities that produce agricultural products or on farms. Agricultural fires are responsible for nearly 50 civilian injuries, 25 fatalities and $102 million in property loss each year.