LEICESTER – A sharp eye and all-out battle against a paper fire in a Leicester barn saved the barn, cows and business from a potentially catastrophic blaze early Friday morning.
Investigators say that a stationary tractor has sat in this dairy barn to shred paper for 10 years. At about 5:17 a.m., while workers had finished shredding a load of paper and were leaving the barn, one of them caught a glimmer of flame coming from the machine in the corner of their eye.
“These guys grabbed buckets of water and just started throwing them on everything,” said Livingston County Emergency Management Director Kevin Niedermaier. “They must have hauled a lot of water to get that out because everything around the tractor was combustible. You had shredded, dry paper, feed, and the floor of the barn itself.”
The Office of Emergency management’s fire investigators determined that over the years, small pieces of paper had packed under and around the tractor’s engine. On Friday, the heat was finally enough to ignite it.
Leicester and Cuylerville Fire Departments rushed to the scene to find the fire already extinguished.
Niedermaier commended the workers for their quick, heroic work.
“I know they moved a lot of water because they were all totally out of breath when firefighters went on scene,” said Niedermaier. “It was an amazing save. That is what you want. That is pure success.”