Squirrel Blamed in Grass Fire - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Byram 10/29/05

Squirrel Blamed in Grass Fire

By David Kenney

Firefighters in Hinds County spent the afternoon putting out a grass fire just north of Byram. Because of recent dry weather, conditions are ideal for fires to quickly spread.

A statewide burn ban is in effect, but some of Mother Nature’s creatures are not obeying the order. The blaze broke out behind a home at the corner of Terry Road and Brookleigh Drive. The homeowners are lucky a passing motorist noticed the fire.

"I was driving by talking on the phone with my girlfriend. I seen the flash, and I told her something popped," said Aaron Alley.

"We heard a loud explosion; didn't think anything of it. Then I saw ashes coming down," said Calvin Russell.

"I walked over here, seen a little smoke, decided to see if anyone was here. There wasn't, so I went ahead and called the emergency crew out here," added Alley.

The spark ignited a grassfire, which spread to nearby pine trees, charring a fence. Byram fire rescue volunteer firefighters showed up just minutes after getting the call.

"By that time the volunteer fireman stopped by he took over and they just started jumping on it and putting it out," stated Russell.

Alley said, "Really, as dry as it is, you really can't prevent it. You just have to jump on it. I know that from the two years I used to do this."

An Entergy lineman arrived just as the flames were being snuffed out. Within minutes he was able to find what sparked the fire.

"A little squirrel cause all that," said Russell.

It's suspected a squirrel jumped on the power line, was electrocuted, then fell to the ground. His charred body starting the grassfire. Firemen at the scene say they were just glad to catch the fire before it spread out of control. Burning trash or leaves during the burn ban can catch a hefty fine, but the squirrel that started this fire may have other worries.

Russell said, "I'm a country boy, so I'm thinking dinner time."

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