By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
A backfiring lawnmower is being blamed for a fire that destroyed the barn of James and Joann Welch of Hardin on CR 2102 around noon Saturday.
According to Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller, Mrs. Welch was getting off the lawnmower when it backfired and sparked a raging fire that destroyed the couple’s tractor, ATV, zero-turn lawnmower and 200 round bales of hay being stored for food for their cattle this winter.
Mrs. Welch attempted to save the ATV but had to retreat from the barn after suffering minor burns to her left arm, Hergemueller said.
Firefighters from Hardin, Liberty and Daisetta responded to the call for help. Hardin Fire Chief Craig Powell expects the fire will continue to burn for several hours until the hay, which is providing fuel to the fire, burns completely.
Powell took a digital reading of the fire using a pyrometer and determined it was burning at 1,250 degrees. To keep the fire from spreading to nearby trees, firefighters applied water periodically. A nearby pond on the Welch property provided water for the pumper trucks.
Neighbors in the community reported hearing explosions, but Hergemueller said the noises likely came from the exploding tractor tires.
The Welches said they are thankful to be insured, so most of their losses should be covered.