Ditch Fire Damages Cars Near Orleans on Monday

By Benjamin Cox on March 13, 2024 at 4:50am

A ditch fire to burn off vegetation resulted in a much bigger fire Monday afternoon north of Orleans.

Firefighters from the Alexander Fire Protection District as well as Franklin and South Jacksonville fire departments were called to the intersection of Orleans Road and Anderson Road around midday.

According to the Journal Courier, the initial reports were that three cars were on fire, but the fire was pushed by relatively brisk winds and six cars ended up being destroyed. Brandon Hazel, the landowner, told the Journal Courier that he had been out earlier in the day burning vegetation in the ditch. He was clearing off the plot of land in order to move in a mobile home.

Hazel said that he had believed he had doused the fire before leaving for lunch, but came back to find the old cars had all caught fire near the ditch. A neighbor had called in the fire before Hazel had returned from lunch. The older vehicle had come a cab company that Hazel’s sister owns near Alton, according to the report. The vehicles were said to be at the end of their useful lives at the time of the fire.

The fire was said to be contained by about 1:30. According to a Morgan County Sheriff’s Office report, firefighters returned back to the location at 7:40 last night for a rekindle.

No estimate of the amount of damage was listed in the report.