One man suffered minor injuries when the corn silage harvester he was driving suddenly burst into flames. The incident happened sometime after 10 o’clock Monday morning at the Quaresma corn fields in south Manteca along South Union Road. The driver was driven, not by ambulance, to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Manteca where he was treated and released.
The silage truck was not involved in the fire. The driver was taking it for unloading at the nearby silage pile when the incident happened.
Two fire engines from the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District, one water tender, and Battalion Chief Craig Jones all responded to the scene. One engine from the City of Manteca Fire Department also provided support in the effort, said LMFD Battalion Chief Craig Jones.
The corn harvest equipment could not be saved from the fire Jones said. “It was fully involved on our arrival.”
The first responders were also hampered by the limited access to the site of the conflagration because of the cornfield.
The fire was contained within 15 minutes of the fire personnel’s arrival, added Jones. They remained on scene for more than an hour afterward to make sure everything was under control and that the fire did not spread into the rest of the cornfield that was being harvested.
The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation as of press time, but a worker from the dairy across the road surmised that the dry ground and the dead corn leaves could have been contributing factors.
The thick black smoke, created by a combination of diesel fuel, engine and hydraulic oil, shot hundreds of feet into the sky which was visible for miles around.