ALTON - Alton firefighters had an interesting fire call to a cornfield that blazed nearly out of control near Storey Lane on Wednesday afternoon.
Alton Fire Chief Bernie Sebold said the call for the fire came in at 1:46 p.m. and the exact cause of the fire wasn’t known, but it did appear the farmer working in the field was burning off some brush while pulling the rest of the crop out of the field.
Sebold described the location as also near Manor Drive Apartments and a trailer park on Wonderland Drive to the north. There were three homes in the Storey Lane area that were also in jeopardy when the call came through, he said.
Alton Fire Department does not have any road brush equipment, so they requested Fosterburg and Godfrey in a Mutual Aid call. East Alton Fire Department also brought a fire engine. There were 15 total fire firefighters, four fire engines and two brush trucks.
“We broke up north, south, east and west because of the size of the fire,” Sebold said. “About 20 acres of corn was burned up and a total of 60 to 70 acres on the total parcel. We headed out in different directions because the fire had potential to burn even more. The wind was blowing pretty strong and changed directions twice. We had to change the tactics we were fighting the fire from.”
Sebold said Battalion Chief Brad Sweetman provided good information from the scene because he lives in that area. When he called, he said it was a pretty large fire and was something to be concerned about.
Mike Storey, who owns one of the houses that was threatened, praised the firefighters for their efforts.
“It was really dry and the wind was the biggest problem,” he said. “If it had gotten to my trees and shed, my house could have been history. I am just glad they got the fire out.”
Sebold said he thought all the firefighters did a great job and he was glad to see that by breaking up the problem, they were able to extinguish the rapidly burning field.