Good Samaritans help save home, farm equipment from grass fire

Good Samaritans help save home, farm equipment from grass fire

COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - The grass fire out in Comanche County near Lee Boulevard and Red Elk Road burned about 20 acres on Tuesday is now contained, but it could have been worse for the man who owns the hay baler that sparked it.

"You always run to the fire because the longer you wait the faster the fire grows and doubles in size," said Michael Swackhammer, a man who stepped in to help during the fire.

Swackhammer was heading to his family's home with is wife when he saw smoke in the distance.

"We saw dark black smoke so we turned left off of Red Elk to come down here and to see what's going on and to make sure everyone's alright," Swackhammer said.

He said another man was on the scene helping as well, and they both started to help the farmer who was struggling to get off his tractor and unhook it from the hay baler, which at that time was engulfed in flames.

"Flames were probably 10-15 feet high and he's trying to unhook it so he can get the tractor. It's his farm equipment," Swackhammer said.

Firefighters came on the scene, and the winds were pushing the grass fire closer to other farm equipment and a neighbor's home. Swackhammer joined in to protect those things that would be hard to replace.

"How do you start over at that point?" Swackhammer asked. "If you're that old and you got all this farm equipment that's burned up? So, I went out there. He was worried about his farm equipment. Of course, the fire department was worried about the spread. So we went out and managed one side while they were taking care of the majority of the spread of it."

The fire is out, the hay baler was destroyed, but no one was seriously hurt.

Swackhammer said he got thanks from the homeowners and the farm equipment owners, and said jumping in to help someone is part of who he is.

"So I'm in the Navy so you usually run towards fires not away from them," Swackhammer said.

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