Faulty mower sparks blaze in Adams Twp.
November 14, 2012
ADAMS TWP — A faulty lawnmower is being blamed for sparking an accidental fire Monday that spread deep into nearby woods, authorities said. One firefighter suffered a minor injury and acres of woods and other property were burned in numerous fires that began popping up shortly before 10 a.m. in Butler County. High winds and dry conditions contributed to the fires, authorities said. Around 10:20 a.m., fire from a yard on Blackstone Lane in Adams Township quickly spread to nearby private woods, prompting a full-scale fire fight by at least a half dozen departments. “When I got there, a large section of woods was on fire,” said Adams Township Police Chief Bill Westerman. “It was spreading rapidly with the wind that was really gusting.” The fire was caused by a homeowner’s lawn tractor. “He was dumping leaves with it and something caught on the exhaust,” said Richard Mann, assistant chief of the Adams Area Fire District. “He tried to put water on (the fire) but it took off.” Firefighters from Adams Area and Callery were first there; but soon, reinforcements were needed from volunteer fire departments in Cranberry Township, Wexford, Evans City and Middlesex Township. Mann said he used an engine “to flank” the fire while a pair of brush trucks were parked at the edge of the woods so firefighters could hit the flames with water hoses. Tankers were called in to feed the brush trucks. “It was going pretty good,” Westerman said, “but the (firefighters) attacked it hard.” “We were doing whatever we could to contain it,” Mann said. “We stopped it from getting out of control and at no time were any homes in danger.” Those homes are more like estates, and most come with price tags that top well more than a half million dollars. Mann estimated the fire burned 15 acres of woods. A Quality Ambulance crew tended to one Adams Area firefighter who twisted an ankle. The fireman was treated at the scene and remained on the job. In all, the battle that included firefighters scouring the woods for hot spots, lasted about three hours. Fires also kept firefighters busy elsewhere in the county on Monday. Wind gusts reportedly fanned a burning pile of leaves in a yard on Peaceful Valley Road in Washington Township. The out-of-control fire about 9:50 a.m. was swept toward nearby woods and momentarily appeared to place a house in jeopardy, fire officials said. It took about 90 minutes to ensure the fire was out.