June 30, 2016

Mostly clear

Massive fire burns 300 acres in Lodi

LODI — Seven departments battled a brush fire that scorched at least 300 acres of land behind Bank Street on Friday afternoon.

With wind speeds estimated between 25 and 35 mph, at least 100 acres had burned by the time the Lodi Fire Department was called just before 1 p.m., Fire Chief Andrew Wurstner said.

“At the beginning, it was pretty overwhelming because it was so big,” he said. “By the time we got here, it had probably burned 100 acres or more, and with the wind, it was quite a challenge.”

Firefighters first worked the perimeter of the field to prevent the fire from spreading, and then it was a matter of “getting out there and staying ahead of it,” Wurstner said.

“We weren’t worried about the hot spots in the middle. We had to get the outside so it couldn’t travel anywhere,” he said. “If it would have gotten in the woods, it would have been difficult to contain.”

Firefighters battled two separate fires in two separate fields after the initial blaze crossed a tree line, Wurstner said. While there were some farms nearby, he said the fire did not pose a threat to any structures and no one was injured.

Most of the property belongs to the Medina County Park District, he said.

Lodi was assisted by Westfield Fire & Rescue, Lafayette Township, Chatham, Spencer and Canaan Township fire departments, as well as Town & Country, which serves Homer Township.

Wurstner credited manpower for the quick containment of the blaze. Crews cleared the scene at approximately 4:15 p.m., he said.

“We called in a lot of mutual aid; that was the key,” he said.

Though Wurstner searched the field for the cause of the fire, he said a point-of-origin is typically difficult to find in a brush fire.

“As dry as it’s been, it could have been a glass bottle in the field, it could have been kids playing, it could have been a dozen things,” he said. “It was so big when the guys got here, it was hard to find a point of origin.”

He said smoke from the fire was widespread.

“Smoke was traveling everywhere,” he said. “It was crossing (U.S. Route) 224, Elyria Street, even out to Vandemark and Kennard Road.”

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.