Combine fire imperils Peotone farmer Mike Lyons <mailto:mlyons@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> , The Daily Journal October 21, 2003 PEOTONE -- A combine fire Monday evening near Peotone scorched three acres, imperiled its driver and did better than $20,000 damage to the machine. Combine operator Ron Hack of Peotone suffered smoke inhalation and a 19-year-old Peotone firefighter experienced heat exhaustion as a result of the 6:50 p.m. fire southwest of town. Peotone fire officials declined to identify the firefighter due to the new federal privacy law. Assistant Fire Chief Bill Schreiber said Hack was still in the combine cab when fire-rescue personnel arrived at the scene. "One of our firefighters went up and got him out," Schreiber said of Hack. "He must have taken in some smoke and was disoriented. Once he got out in the fresh air and got some oxygen he was fine." Peotone triggered a box alarm to fight the wind whipped blaze, a move which brought help from Beecher, Manhattan, Monee, University Park and Frankfort. A Richton Park unit stood by at the Peotone station. Schreiber said both standing corn and corn stubble burned in the blaze, though no loss estimate was available this morning. Damage to the 1995 John Deere Model 9500 was put at over $20,000. "The corn head is shot and there's fire damage in the front chute," said Schreiber, who said a failed part in the corn head -- possibly a bearing -- is the preliminary suspect in the fire investigation. The fire emphasizes grim statistics that have been in the news the last few days showing that agriculture continues to be the nation's most dangerous occupation. Two harvest-related accidents have occurred on area roads in the three days, the last one on Monday afternoon, when Lois Morrison was killed near Peotone. Ten days ago, a rural St. Anne teenager was killed in an accident with a tractor driven by a 16-year-old.