Straw maze catches fire at Autumn Harvest Farms in West Quincy

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:42 PM CDT
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WEST QUINCY, Mo. (WGEM) - The straw maze at Autumn Harvest Farms’ “pop-up” pumpkin patch and play area in West Quincy caught fire Thursday afternoon.

Heavy white smoke could be seen above West Quincy for about 40 minutes while firefighters worked to extinguish the bales.

Smoke over West Quincy
Smoke over West Quincy(WGEM)

Owner Kayla Vaughn said a relative was driving by after 2 p.m. and noticed smoke coming from the bales.

Firefighters worked to knock down the fire for more than an hour. No structures were damaged and there were no injuries.

The pumpkin patch and play area were closed Thursday when the fire started. Vaughn said they still plan to be open Friday but she was unsure if they could rebuild the straw maze. She said that would have to be determined.

Vaughn said there was a brush fire in the area Wednesday night, but Vaughn did not know if that played a role in the fire Thursday.

Palmyra Fire Departments Chief Gary Crane says fires like these pose a challenge.

“Well, sometimes these are harder to put out than a structure fire. Usually, a building you got it contained to one area but, like you see here, this is all scattered out, these are all bales.” Chief Crane said, “So, it’s all manual, busting open a straw, because the fire gets so down into the bale, it’s hard to get out with the water because it’s harder to get the water to soak through a bale. So, the only way to do it, like you see us doing now, is bust the bales, open them up, try to get to the root of it, and get it put down.”

Vaughn said this was the fifth year for the pumpkin patch and play area in West Quincy and they have never had anything like this happen before.

Both Palmyra and Quincy fire departments responded.

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