Lovell Fire Chief Jim Minchow said the Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. received a call at 9:14 a.m. Wednesday, July 23, to respond to a downed power line in contact with a tractor on Road 15.
Minchow said Jared Asay, son of Stan and Jan Asay, was spraying weeds in a cornfield on the family farm when the accident happened. He said Asay was having problems with the right-side boom of the sprayer, and when he retracted the booms to make the turn at the end of a field, he was paying close attention to the boom on the right side, the now tall boom on the left side hit a power line, tearing one line down and hanging up in another line.
“There are 7,200 volts in the lines. Jared is very fortunate that someone was watching over him,” Minchow said. “The line shorted out and was arcing through the tractor and trailer. It blew the two back tires on the trailer and the left front tire on the tractor. The corn touching the tractor and trailer was burned. It just fried it and burnt it right off.”
Minchow said Asay was grounded with the tires on the tractor, then jumped off the tractor, which Minchow figured must not have been arcing at that particular moment.
“The tires were burning, the hitches were sparking and he bailed out of the tractor and ran to get away,” Minchow said. “He’s very fortunate he was able to get out and get away from it. Somebody was watching over him.
Firemen contacted Big Horn Rural Electric, and a lineman discovered that the downed line had kicked the breaker at the area substation, knocking out power in a large area east of Lovell for several hours while repairs were made.
“While we were waiting for REA to get there, we had a little educational class with the firemen, ambulance crew and the Asay family about the proper way to get away (in a situation like that),” Minchow said. “You should stay right in it (a vehicle) if you can, and if you need to jump, land with both feet at the same time and shuffle away from it. Stay grounded to the ground.
“Jared was very fortunate. It was a pretty scary situation. I’m thankful nothing happened. Our people learned and they learned.”
By David Peck