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Combine fire interrupts fall harvest
Combine at Night
SCENES LIKE THIS, with area farmers out working around the clock to bring in the 2017 corn and bean harvest while the warmer, dryer weather lasted, could be seen all through the last weeks of November.

MONROE — Firefighters were called to put out a combine fire in a field just northwest of the city on Tuesday, according to Monroe Fire Chief Dan Smits.

The owner of the combine, Eric Thompson, was operating the harvesting machine in his field when it accidentally caught on fire, Smits said. Thompson was able to put out the fire with an extinguisher at first, but called for help when he realized the fire had returned and was spreading.

“He had an extinguisher present for the first fire but he wasn’t able to contain it the second time,” Smits said.

Three fire trucks responded to the field in the W6600 block of Wald Road at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday.

No one was injured, but the fire caused about $8,000 to $10,000 in damage to the combine, Smits said. Firefighters were able to save the head of the combine.

Combine fires are common during harvesting season and caused by an accumulation of dust.

“It’s pretty common this time of year,” Smits said. “It’s something the farmers are very aware of, a risk of their business.”

Losing a combine mid-harvest presents a challenge for Thompson.

“He was not done combining his fields so he has some challenges coming. He’s going to have to work with some other farmers to get the rest of his work done,” Smits said.