Unexpected fire traveled rapidly on Waseca corn field; close to senior home

Sitting about 600 feet away from the traveling fire was the Foxdale senior living center.
Waseca Corn Field Fire
Updated: Oct. 20, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - On Wednesday, farmer Tim Fischer, from Fischer Family Farms, used his combine to chase and diminish an unexpected fire spreading along his own corn field in Waseca.

“I had a real eye-opening experience yesterday about how fast a fire can move, even when there’s no wind. It was kind of scary how fast it was moving because I couldn’t get ahead of it with the combine,” Fischer Family Farms owner Tim Fischer said.

Sitting about 600 feet away from the traveling fire was the Foxdale senior living center.

Based on the speed of the spread, Waseca authorities and Fischer feared that the fire would eventually reach the care unit and the people inside.

“That was our biggest concern. I mean- yeah, it’s a valuable crop that’s out there, but what kind of a value to put on someone’s life?” Fischer said.

“We were notified shortly after the fire began. There was smoke in the area, smoke drifting our way, and fire was moving in our general direction. We shut down some outside ventilation to make sure no smoke got inside for any of the residents,” Foxdale Colony Court administrator & CEO Eric Worke said.

After 25 minutes, local authorities and farmers had the fire under control and put out.

Fischer says 13 acres of his corn burned, which estimates a $17,000 loss.

The cause of the fire is unknown, although implied to be from a cigarette butt from a nearby road, but Fischer says the dry air amplified the fire.

“It doesn’t take much, as we found out yesterday,” Fischer said.

“This year being as dry as it is, it’s definitely a little bit more on the forefront of our thoughts. Hopefully it’s a lesson learned for someone who may have been a little negligent on getting it started,” Worke added.

“It could’ve been much worse than what it was,” Fischer said.