By Keith Knepp
MILFORD — Shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, July 2, a dispatch call came over the scanner beckoning Milford Fire Department to a tree fire at the corner of CR 175 E and CR 1300 N, northeast of the town limits. Whoever called 911 suggested that the fire might have been a result of electricity.
However, when firefighters arrived, they found a strange scene. Yes, there was a tree on fire. No, it likely wasn’t caused by electricity. The power lines that ran above the tree, while coming in contact with the upper branches, did not appear to be the culprit.
Rather, the source of the fire seemed to be at the tree’s base. In fact, none of the tree more than 10 feet off the ground seemed to be impacted at all. The leaves were green and, for the moment, even looked healthy. That probably won’t be the case tomorrow when the reality sets in that they are no longer being supported by an undamaged trunk.
Some of Milford’s top firefighting brass were on the scene and could not offer an explanation, except perhaps “smoking squirrels.” Perhaps the warned-about murder hornets have come up with a new way to ply their trade? It’s been hot in northern Indiana for the last couple of weeks, but hot enough for spontaneous combustion? Curious minds want to know.