Home News Bird Starts Field Fire While Firefighters at Ross Fair

Bird Starts Field Fire While Firefighters at Ross Fair

Deerfield Township Fire & Rescue in Clarksburg, Ross County, Ohio.

Clarsksburg — Between the Ross County Fair and Special Election Day, an electrocuted hawk caused some firefighting excitement in Deerfield Township of Ross County.

As I was working at the polls in the old fire station in Clarsksburg Tuesday, we could hear the volunteer fire crew making a run. It turned out that an almost Rube Goldberg series of events led to a fire that was contained with minimum staff.

Field fire August 8th, 2023, near Westfall Road and Browns Chapel Road, Derefield Township, Ross County.

Carey Maddux, a volunteer at Deerfield Township Fire & Rescue, said a large hawk landed atop an electrical pole and electrocuted itself at the corner of Westfall Road and Browns Chapel Road.

That started a fire in the wheat stubble below, which was double-cropped with young soybeans. Maddux said stubble catches fire easily, and evidently Monday’s rains hadn’t dampened it much.

But with the Ross County Fair ongoing, most of the volunteers were there, and Maddux said he had only two other men to fight the fire. He said it burned only about an acre before it was stopped, but it was on the way towards a couple barns and a house.

He said bordering Union Township showed up later for mutual aid, after Deerfield Township had things under control. (Concerns about volunteer staffing issues, mutual aid, and response times have led to a study of Ross County fire and EMS with the possibility of a county-wide system.)

Then, on the way back to the fire station, a large fire extinguisher bumped it way out through an open tailgate of the grassfighter truck, and a voter brought it in later.

Maddux said the bird was found dead on the ground…but one of its legs was still on the electrical wire, where it was burned off by the short circuit.

Carey Maddux, a volunteer at Deerfield Township Fire & Rescue in Ross County, explains how a large hawk started a field fire by electrocuting itself August 8th, 2023.
My crew running the elections, and a voter, in the old fire station in Clarsksburg last November.

Turnout in the township was relatively strong – for a special election, during the fair and vacation time, on a single non-local issue. Issue One, to raise the threshold for changing the state constitution from 50% to 60%, failed statewide.

The Ross County Board of Elections is usually looking for poll workers. Contact them for decent pay for a long day of public service.

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Raised in Ross County, Bearcat class of '87 at Paint Valley. Wrote a column on history and historic preservation for the Chillicothe Gazette right out of high school, then a bachelors in Journalism in the OU class of '91. After starting my one-man company "Intrepid Heritage Services" in Columbus in 1997 to offer historical research, tours, and talks, I retuned to Ross County in 2003. Have been working as a radio programmer and reporter at Clear Channel / iHeart Media Southern Ohio. Started working with the Scioto Post June 27th, 2023.