Mower burns but buildings saved


Local News

December 24, 2019 - 10:24 AM

This riding lawn mower, owneed by Gary and Jennifer Stalder, Humboldt, was destroyed in a fire Saturday. Volunteer firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it could spread. PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER STALDER

HUMBOLDT ? A riding lawnmower was destroyed by fire in an outbuilding owned by Gary and Jennifer Stalder Saturday, but a rapid response from firefighters helped douse the flames before they could spread.

The Stalders, who live at 242 1200 St., shared their story through an email.

The fire was started by a battery tender attached to a John Deere riding lawn mower.

The Stalders were alerted to the blaze when daughter Amanda returned home from volunteering for the Salvation Army in Chanute shortly before dusk.

Amanda noted a burning smell as she approached the home, notifying her parents, who went outside to find black smoke billowing from an old corn crib building on their property containing several mowers and tractors.

They opened the doors to the building to find the mower fully engulfed.

Amanda alerted authorities while Gary scrambled to find a hose to help douse the rapidly growing flames, which by then had begun climbing the inside walls.

Even more concerning was a nearby horse barn and another house and garage that were in danger of being swept up if the fire spread too quickly.

Thankfully, the firefighters were on the scene within minutes.


Humboldt firefighters survey the damage of an outbuilding fire that destroyed a lawn mower owned by Gary and Jennifer Stalder in Humboldt Saturday. The fire was doused before it could spread further. PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER STALDER


?I need to express here the speed at which they responded,? Jennifer wrote.

The firefighters immediately began attacking the fire, while simultaneously pulling other pieces of equipment from the burning building.

The flames were knocked down quickly enough to save the corn crib. While the mower was a total loss, and a nearby utility tractor sustained heavy damage, those were the only items damaged in the fire.

Custom lumber also kept in the building, although wet, was saved as well.

?We cannot thank our Humboldt Volunteer Fire Department enough for their efforts,? Jennifer said. ?And I must emphasize what we have all been told over the years: If you see something, say something. If it had not been for Amanda speaking up that night when she did, all would have been lost.?

There were no injuries.

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