“Where’s the fire at?” This is what neighbors of Beryl Popp must have been thinking as emergency vehicles swamped the country roads near Cumro. The call for help went out a little before 2:50 in the afternoon on Tuesday and many of the surrounding communities fire departments answered. When asked how Beryl discovered the fire, he said that Rick Shoemaker and Brian Eberle were in the area looking at cattle when they noticed smoke. They pulled into his yard to tell him and the first call Beryl made was to the Eddyville fire department. After venturing to the top of the hill as seeing the size of the fire, Beryl then called 911 but lost the call half way through. The call must have lasted long enough though, because according to bystanders, fire personnel came from Ansley, Broken Bow, Eddyville, Oconto, and Sumner.
The first on the scene was Eddyville’s two trucks and they somehow were able to get ahead of the burning hillside. Soon, friends and neighbors showed up armed with wet denim, shovels, and ATVs to help combat the blaze. The fire was under control at one point, before catching again and continuing to burn.
Within an hour and a half, the spread of the fire had ceased and focus was redirected to the smoldering hot spots. Firefighters continued to douse the grass around the perimeter, in hopes of preventing another flare up.
“Every town around was pretty much there!” stated Beryl, who then went on to say, “It’s amazing how fast they surrounded it. They did a fantastic job!”
Dave Patterson, who used to own some of the land that caught fire, estimated that 60-70 acres of grassland had been burned. The blaze began near the center point of a pivot, before being stirred up by the wind and taken over a hill. Upon further inspection, it’s been decided that a mouse is to blame. Its charred body was found inside the wire box of the pivot center, connecting two wires.
Beryl wanted to send out a big thanks to all the folks who came to assist.