Lawn mower blamed for fire that destroyed outbuilding
Nov 04, 2012 (Menafn - News-Topic - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Investigators believe a hot lawn mower was the cause of a fire that burned down an outbuilding and spread into a wooded area in Yadkin Valley Friday afternoon.
Bob Church of 2715 Winkler Way Road in Lenoir had just finished mowing and mulching leaves with his lawn mower when he put it away. In a matter of minutes, he saw smoke coming from the building and called for help. The fire ultimately destroyed the structure and burned about a quarter of an acre of woods adjacent to Church's property.
Caldwell County Deputy Fire Marshal Dino DiBernardi said it was impossible to know exactly how the fire started, but he determined during his investigation that the mower definitely was the culprit.
"There's no way to definitively say what on the lawn mower started the fire, whether it was the engine compartment or something around the deck with leaves or the belts," DiBernardi said. "It was definitely the origin of the fire, at least. He had put it up not five minutes before the fire and walked away. When he got back around to the side of the house, he saw smoke and flames."
Dibernardi also said high winds helped the fire to not only consume the outbuilding but also spread to the wooded area beside the home.
Firefighters from Patterson, Kings Creek and Valmead Volunteer Departments responded as well as the North Carolina Forest Service and the Caldwell County Fire Marshal's Office.
Damages were estimated at 3,000, including two lawn mowers and other yard equipment. No one was hurt.
DiBernardi also offered some tips for people who use their mowers to keep the falling leaves at bay and want to avoid a potentially catastrophic fire after they finish up their work.
"There's no real way to prevent it, but I'd say leave (the mower) outside for a while," he said. "Of course, that won't save your lawn mower, but it'll definitely save your building. You can also rinse off your lawn mower. People clean their cars all the time when they're dirty, and you can do the same with your lawn mower. General maintenance on your lawn mower will prevent a lot of that stuff, especially if it was overheating or if it was slippage of the belts that started this fire."
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