Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fire! Fire! Fire!

That is what I was yelling this afternoon when leaves accumulated on the mower deck contacted the swiftly moving belts driving the two blades, long enough for friction to bring the leaves to flammable condition.

Leaves also had accumulated between front tires and the deck to make steering difficult. I had just struck a hickory sapling and when backing up saw flames in leaves in front of the mower. I quickly backed up and then saw flames coming from beneath the mower and from a side of the deck.

“Fire! Fire! Fire!” I yelled as loud as I could, while backing the mower from the burning leaves. I kept yelling “Fire! Fire! Fire!” even when I got the mower 40 feet from the leaves.

Our house is the first of seven on a cul-de-sac. Two other houses face the street; the others are back in the woods. On the connecting street, six houses are in view. Surely, I thought, somebody can hear me.

Priscilla was in the house with Mrs. R., so I didn’t expect an immediate response. I kept yelling: “Fire! Fire! Fire!” And: “If you people value your homes, help me fight this fire!”

I started raking leaves away from burning leaves, hoping to make a firebreak. But I had three different fires going – the original burning leaves; the place where I first stopped the mower; and a fire beneath the mower.

I started walking for my pickup, parked about 150 feet away, near the shop. Priscilla came from the house and asked what I was doing. “Getting something to rake leaves from the fire,” I said. All the time I was walking, I was yelling “Fire! Fire! Fire!”

I got a hoe from my truck. Priscilla got a hose from in front of the shop. Once we had the proper tools, getting the fire out was easy.

No one else ever arrived.

The fire burned out some wiring on the mower and probably ruined the mower belts. I doubt the warranty covers fire.

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