Always pay attention way down the track
April 7, 2022
Several people found it difficult to be where they needed to be to fight the fire last Tuesday because of the smoke and fast moving flames. Jon Thompson was one of the many firefighters who had a scary experience.
Jon and Mike Harris were manning a 1,000 gallon water tank. When the tank was empty, they headed back to Burr Oak on the highway where smoke and flames were crossing the highway.
Once the tank was filled Jon went back to the fire by himself. Because the fire and smoke were so bad on the highway north of Burr Oak, Jon decided to go back on a dirt road he had driven on earlier on his way to the fire. Jon was on an east-west road west of where the Wesleyan Methodist Church once sat. Smoke was heavy and visibility difficult. Driving 35 MPH on the dirt road, Jon was headed down hill to a wooden plank bridge. He thought it looked different than earlier when he had gone over it. The blowing smoke made it difficult to see. As he got closer, he realized the planks were gone. He hit the brakes and his rig jackknifed. The trailer carrying the 1,000 gallons of water hit the side of the bumper on his truck. But he got it stopped before plunging into the creek. Once he and the others got his truck turned around, they headed on to fight the fire.
Those who were following Jon, asked why he stopped so abruptly. They understood when they looked at the road in front of his truck.
Jon used to race cars. When he was car racing, his dad, Eldon Thompson, had told him to "always pay attention way down the track." That advice paid off even during a fire!