December 5, 2002

Firemen Handle Grassfires At Three Different Locations

The Scotland County Fire Department put the bulk of its 24-man volunteer force and nine fire-truck fleet to work Friday, November 29 when three separate grass fires occurred at roughly the same time.

The department initially responded to a grass fire on the Greg Rockhold property north of Memphis on Route BB at 12:57 p.m. Because Rockhold was not a member of the Scotland County Fire Corporation, the department could not send corporation equipment. However the department owns two brush trucks donated by the Missouri Department of Conservation, which are required to roll to any grass fires.

Both conservation trucks were dispatched to the scene. Prior to arrival of the fire department the Scotland County Sheriff's Department notified the firemen that the blaze was moving quickly and soon would threaten the adjoining property, which is owned by Tony Mayberry, a member of the fire association. The immediate threat to a member's property allowed the department to roll all fire trucks at that time.

The fire started in a pasture adjoining a mobile home that had recently been moved on to the lot by Tony Morton. A stiff wind out of the west helped push the fire across the pasture and into several adjoining wooded draws before crossing the fence into Mayberry's pasture.

While battling the blaze north of town the fire department received a report of another grass fire, this one south of Memphis on Ridge Road near the Bill Adams property.

Two trucks that had not yet made it to the initial fire were diverted to the second scene. The remainder of the department continued to fight the growing blaze on the Rockhold/Mayberry properties.

After approximately an hour on the scene the fire was being brought under control when a third grass fire was reported, this one near the Iowa state line in the Azen area.

Fire Chief Mark Drummond sent the mini-pumper, the departments fastest truck, and called for the department's rural truck, a larger fire truck with much more water capacity as well as two hose reels that can be deployed to fight any type of fire. The truck had traveled back to Memphis to refill with water. Firemen stopped at the north end of town at the Scotland County Livestock Auction and refilled the truck at the city water hydrant before responding to the 3rd fire.

Because the department was spread out so thin a call also was made to the Cantril Fire Department for mutual aid at the state line fire scene. However the local firemen were able to quickly bring the fire under control.

The fire at the Adams property was quickly brought under control and the trucks and firemen at that scene then traveled on to the fire on Route BB where the final hot spots were extinguished at approximately 4:00 p.m.

Overall approximately 75 acres was burned in the three fires, all of which started as controlled burns before getting away from the property owners.

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