The quick thinking of a groundnut farmer in Jammanakatti village in Bagalkot district of Karnataka helped prevent a fire from spreading to several houses in the village.
Yankappa, 28, has been hailed by the residents of the village for driving a tractor that caught fire into a lake on Monday.
At around 4 pm, Yankappa was driving the tractor on a narrow village road with houses on either side. This was when the hay loaded on the tractor came into contact with an electrical wire and caught fire. The hay, stacked about 20 feet high, caught fire immediately and started spreading fast.
In spite of the heat rising behind him, Yankappa kept his cool and steered the tractor towards the lake in the village. “Standing still was not an option because the fire would have spread from the tractor to the houses nearby. The residents of the village came forward to show me the way and told me that the best thing to do was to drive the tractor into the lake,” Yankappa says, recounting the series of events that has catapulted him to fame locally.
Residents on the spot scrambled to pour water and douse the fire but it proved inadequate to contain the fast spreading fire. Seeing no other option, Yankappa accelerated and began driving the tractor towards the lake. By this time, a few people had begun filming the incident which shows the back of the tractor engulfed by a giant ball of fire and burnt hay flying all around, even as Yankappa picked up pace.
When he reached the lake, Yankappa drove right into the water and jumped out of the vehicle as the tractor half-submerged in the water and the fire died down slowly.
“The whole thing took place within 20 minutes and Yankappa showed great composure to ensure that the fire did not spread anywhere else in the village,” said Manjunatha, a resident of the village who was at the scene of the incident.
Yankappa claims that he incurred a loss of Rs 30,000 and is hoping for some kind of compensation following the awful incident.