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Tractor engine catches fire after jump-start attempt
Local firefighters worked to put out a tractor fire in the 200 block of South Hill Street on Monday in Riverton. Jerry Bornhoft, the tractor's owner, said the engine arced when he tried to jump-start the vehicle, causing the fire. Photo by Jamie Drendel

Tractor engine catches fire after jump-start attempt

Jun 25, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Jerry Bornhoft said he was trying to jump-start his tractor Monday morning when the machine started smoking in the 200 block of South Hill Street in Riverton.

"The damn thing arced," Bornhoft said.

He tried to use a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze, but by 10 a.m. firefighters had arrived on the scene to help.

"It was fully on fire when we got there," Riverton fire chief Mike Hutchison said Tuesday. "We put it out pretty quick."

No one was injured in the incident.

After they extinguished the flames, Hutchison said crews helped address a fuel line that had been burned apart in the blaze.

"It was leaking gasoline everywhere," Hutchison said. "Bornhoft got that plugged off (and) shoveled some dirt around so the gas didn't run through the field."

The property belongs to the Larsen family, he said, and Lorraine Larsen is listed as the person who made the fire report.

The tractor, which belongs to Bornhoft, could be salvageable, Hutchison continued. Bornhoft indicated at the scene that he plans to re-build the engine.

"It may be restorable," Hutchison said. "It had a lot of damage, (but) it may be something that can be repaired with a lot of work."

He added that the blaze is not suspicious, though he wasn't sure what started the fire. He said it's possible that the cause was related to Bornhoft's attempt to jump-start the engine.

"Whenever there are flammable vapors from the gas ... and you have a spark, they can ignite," he said. "Even static electricity can do that. But I don't know if that's what happened here or if a wire overheated and started something on fire."

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