Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 26 June 2012 18:19
A lightning strike during last Wednesday’s thunderstorm ignited the wheat-stubble field immediately north of Third Street on the northern edge of Hillsboro. Fire Chief Ben Steketee said he and other volunteers were on their way to another lightning-related emergency outside of town then the strike occurred. ”The trucks were already rolling when the homeowner there called dispatch and said there was no fire and we could disregard the call,” Steketee said. “We were glad to hear that because the rain and the lightning were coming down like mad.” While they were returning, volunteer Matt Hein, who was in the tanker truck, reported the strike that started the fire just north of town. Steketee said he redirected the fire trucks to that location, but Hein reported that it appeared the rain was extinguishing the flames. “I told everybody to just stay in the trucks because I didn’t want guys out there in the lightning,” Steketee said. “We sat there and watched it, and sure enough the rain put the fire out.” Steketee said the funny thing was that another call came in while they were waiting that someone was smelling smoke and thought perhaps their house was on fire. The Hillsboro firefighters went to that location but found no indication of fire. All three calls occurred in the course of about 10 minutes, Steketee said.