WILLARD, Mo. — A man in rural Greene County tells OzarksFirst he’s thankful for a quick response from first responders Thursday afternoon when his barn caught on fire.
Doug Willcutt says he was mowing and believes when he ran over a rock, a spark flew into the area of his hay bales and ignited the blaze.
“I was off today doing my farm stuff,” Willcutt said. “I should have stayed at work.”
Inside the barn were over 100 bales of hay, multiple tractors, and a workshop.
“3/4 of it is hay and tractors and equipment. I got four tractors and two small dozers in there,” Willcutt said. “I got one of them out and then [there’s] kind of a workshop at the far end, but the whole face of it is open.”
Willard Fire was the first to respond, along with crews from other districts and say the call will take hours to complete.
“Hay bales are compacted and once they catch on fire, the easiest way to pull them out is to take them out of the barn and unroll them or spread them out,” Willard Fire Chief Ken Scott said.
Scott says recent weather could have aided the acceleration of flames.
“We’re really short on hay this year for all the farmers and it’s a definite reflection of the hay being so dry,” Scott said. “I know lots of people that are mowing it one day and babaling it the next day because it’s that dry.”
Willcutt says despite losing nearly $10,000 in hay, plus the equipment, he’s thankful it wasn’t worse.
“Good Lord, nobody was hurt, you know, [I’m] thinking it can be replaced,” Willcutt said. “Losing my my nice John Deere tractor, but it could be worse. It could be worse. I can replace it.”The other crews responding are from Brookline and Ebenezer, while Springfield Fire Crews monitored the Willard area while working this fire.