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News :: DNR started grass fire that destroyed farm buildings north of Vinton
· 8:25am April 14th, 2014
Glen Dale Geiger was among the last to know about the grass fire started by the DNR that spread to his property, destroying his beloved Pontiac convertible and many farm implements.
“I didn’t know anything about it until I went to the Legion fish fry, and someone said, ‘I am sorry about what happened to your place,’” said Geiger, whose property at 2349 55th Street sustained much damage in the fire.
“I lost a lot of stuff, including a car I have had for 54 years,” he said.
In 1960, Geiger bought a brand new Pontiac Bonneville convertible. The car still ran but needed restored; Geiger had intended to make that one of his retirement projects.
Also lost in the fire were a corn crib and barn, feed wagons, corn planter, corn picker, baler, camper, snow blower, bicycles, lawn mowers and more.
Geiger says he is “not very happy” about the incident.
“The whole state of Iowa was under a 'Red Flag' warning to not burn and who goes out to burn? The state of Iowa,” Geiger said. “It was just stupid of them.”
Firefighters from the Vinton, Brandon, Cedar-Mount Auburn, Urbana and Canton-Shellsburg departments, with assistance from the U.S. Forestry service, battled the fire that quickly spread, destroying Geiger's farm buildings and equipment, and burning several fields to the north and east. Some residents of the area credit the firefighters for saving their property from the flames.
The fire began Friday afternoon (April 11) near the intersection of 55th Street and 23rd Avenue Drive, about 4 miles north of Vinton. Firefighters managed to save the house on Geiger's property, and to keep flames from damaging other properties in the area, although flames spread to fields, extending almost to 24th Avenue Drive.
The Iowa DNR was conducting what they intended as a controlled burn in state-owned land along the Cedar River when the winds whipped the flames out of control.
"They were conducting a controlled burn which became out of control," said Vinton Fire Chief Gary McKenna.
Flames spread as heavy winds pushed the fire east and north. The National Weather Service had issued a "Red Flag" fire warning for several counties in the area due to the dry windy conditions.
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