Farmer speaks out following harvest equipment fire in Clay County

October 16th, 2020 | Kinsey Senkel

In the early morning hours of Thursday, Oct. 15th, several local fire departments responded to a fire in rural Clay County, NE.

Jonathan Rempel said he was getting his two children ready for school on Thursday when he received a phone call from the Sutton Volunteer Fire Department.

“They said Your harvest equipment is on fire,” Rempel recalled. “All of it.”

According to the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s office, the fire destroyed a combine, two trucks and trailers filled with grain, a tractor, and a grain cart.

Photo by Jonathan Rempel

Rempel described the location of the fire as a very rural area, two miles off the two-lane highway.

Photographs from the fire have been shared widely on social media, suggesting the fire was politically driven and arson.

Rempel avoided making the political connection in his Facebook post, sharing the news of the fire. He did confirm that two flags in support of President Donald Trump were on his combine.

Flags and signs in support of President Donald Trump are not uncommon in Nebraska this year. Numerous farmers have used their harvest equipment as rolling billboards this election year.

The Fire Marshals office told the Rural Radio Network that the investigation into the fire is ongoing.

“Words cant do justice to explain both the emotional lows, and support that we have experienced just since early this morning,” Rempel wrote on Facebook. “Things can definitely be replaced….people cant.”

The following statement was posted by Rempel on Facebook:

No one wants to read about sad stories or pain on Facebook, but we believe we need to share this to the larger community of friends that we have both near and far.

Today was a hard day. I received a call this morning at 7 am while helping get the kids ready for school. The call was from the Sutton volunteer fire department. They were calling to tell me that all of my harvest equipment at the field was on fire and they were putting it out. We can not say thank you enough to the Sutton and Clay Center VFDs who responded to the early call.

Apparently, sometime early this morning our combine and corn head, tractor, and two semis all caught fire at about the same time while being parked at a safe distance from each other. We are devastated and crushed by the enormous loss we face from this fire, but at the same time are incredibly blessed to be from rural America, where the people are the best. Both of our phones have blown up with a huge out-pouring of support from friends, family, business partners, and strangers. People offering their physical help, their operational help, and offers of food and meals in this time of tragedy. These people are already stretched thin, are stressed and tired, but are taking time to reach out, and offer help and aid in a time of need. We are so incredibly blessed by everyone!!!

Words cant do justice to explain both the emotional lows, and support that we have experienced just since early this morning. We are thankful no one was injured during the incident. Things can definitely be replaced….people cant.

Again, we want to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone who has reached out to us today. Love, The Rempels

Photo by Jonathan Rempel
Photo by Jonathan Rempel


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