Fair contributed to fire calls last week

A girl, age 4, had her eyelid impaled by a piece of wire from a rabbit cage.

Personnel from the Park Rapids Fire Department and First Responders were on hand last week during such Hubbard County Fair Events as the Motocross, tractor and truck pull, and demolition derby.

They came in handy on the grandstand arena at least once, when a demo derby vehicle caught fire. There was also a scare during the tractor pull when smoke erupted from a vehicle’s engine, but nothing serious developed.

Meantime, according to Assistant Fire Chief Ben Cumber, the most urgent call at the fair took place Friday in the livestock barn when a 4-year-old girl’s eyelid became impaled on a wire hook used to latch the gate of a rabbit cage.

As to how it happened, he said, “We’re not sure. Either she tripped and lost her balance, or the wind blew the gate open.” Either way, he said, “it got under her eyelid, and then it pierced through her eyelid and came back out.”

Police, ambulance, Hubbard First Response and fire personnel responded to the call.


“One of the guys brought a cutter, and we did a couple practice cuts on an abandoned rabbit cage,” said Cumber. After considering other options, they decided cutting the wire was the best move. “One of the paramedics held the piece while we cut it. She came free right when we cut it, and as she backed away, and the paramedic wiggled the piece just a little bit, and it came right out of her eyes.”

Cumber could not confirm the child’s condition, except that she was transported to the hospital.

Firefighters also responded to two fire calls Friday outside the fairgrounds.

“We had a car fire north of Park Rapids” on County Road 4, said Cumber. “The guy started his car, and was going to close his shop door, and he looked and there was fire dripping out of it.”

He gave the car’s owner credit for quick thinking, using a skid steer to push the car out of the shop and leaving the hood shut until firefighters arrived.

“Pretty small fire, got that put out relatively easy,” said Cumber. “It was about as uneventful as a fire can get.”

Seven firefighters showed up for the call. Cumber said the car may be salvageable, because it was a 1965 model and didn’t have a lot of wiring to burn.

Also on Friday, equipment left burning on a workbench filled a commercial building with smoke southeast of Park Rapids on State Hwy. 87.


“By the time we got there, it was pretty much out, but the whole shop was smoke damaged,” said Cumber. “We had to ventilate. We called mutual aid from Menahga and Nevis for that call, just to be safe.”

No one was injured, he said, noting that the State Fire Marshal’s office was called in to investigate.

Related Topics: FIRES
Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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