A brand new combine harvester and 30ac of winter barley were destroyed following a blaze during harvesting in Platin, Co Meath.

“It was six minutes past two on Sunday afternoon, 18 July, when I noticed the row behind me was on fire,” Tom Lawlor told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“I immediately jumped out of the cab and noticed the fire was coming from under the front axle of the combine. I sprayed the front axle and the flame died down for a moment.

“The flame remerged again. I repeated this over and over but the extinguisher ran out and the blaze consumed the machine.”

Perfect conditions

The Claas Lexion 6600 had just 11 hours on the clock when the blaze broke out.

“A huge fire began crossing the field. There was a lovely breeze. The conditions were perfect for the fire to spread and all I could do was call for the fire service,” Lawlor continued.

“Neighbouring farmers from near and far started pouring into the field with loading shovels and cultivators to help contain the blaze. A total of 30ac was scorched in the 60ac field.

“I didn’t realise at the time but the fire was getting very close to houses along the field’s boundary. I was beside the combine and the black cloud of smoke prevented me from seeing what was happening on the other side of the field.”

\Navan Airfield

Swift action

Lawlor has thanked neighbouring farmers for their help in containing the blaze and supporting him in recent days to complete the harvest.

“We haven’t been able to fully confirm what caused the fire. From the moment it began it was out of control in a matter of minutes,” Lawlor said.

“Only for the swift action of wonderful neighbours the damage could have been a lot worse.

“My local dealer loaned me a replacement combine for the mean-time and neighbours have completed the harvest for me. I’m very grateful to them.”