Grass fire in Lindale area damages farm equipment, upwards of $40K

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 3:19 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 9:47 PM CDT

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A hay baler caught fire and burned about ten acres near Lindale.

Crews were called around 1 p.m. to County Road 433, near the Target Distribution Center.

“You don’t have no control over fire; it goes fast. I couldn’t believe, couldn’t believe how fast that burnt,” says Jane Kepler, who had been baling hay with her husband.

Multiple volunteer fire departments responded to a grass fire this afternoon.

Larry and Jane Kepler were raking and baling hay for landowners Howard and Sandra Rowan when things heated up.

A bearing went out in their tractor, which ignited the grass, engulfing about ten acres of pasture, and later spreading into the surrounding woods.

“It’s just really upsetting that it happened, but you know, we can’t help it, but I was just thank God that it didn’t get Howard and Sandra’s buildings,” says Mrs. Kepler.

Mr. Rowan says it’s a terrible thing that happened that he wouldn’t wish on anyone. He says it was a beautiful morning with no wind that turned into a fiery afternoon, but he remains positive.

“We can count our blessings, the Lord ... we didn’t lose our house, we didn’t lose anybody, nobody’s gotten hurt, and as far as I know no other major damage,” says Rowan. “This grass will grow back, and what trees are damaged will grow back, and we just wish it hadn’t happened but it’s a blessing in disguise I guess.”

The fire destroyed one tractor belonging to the Keplers, and damaged a second tractor and baler; a huge financial loss for them.

“They are so expensive; tractors can run from $40,000 on up, even higher than that, and the bailers is really high.”

Rowan says he is thankful for the quick response of the fire departments for protecting his property from further damage.

“The fire department was able to save our barn which houses our electrical system; we are totally off grid solar, and so, we aren’t going to be in the dark tonight.”

The fire departments contained the grassfire using multiple plows and will be monitoring it.