Man drives flaming tractor into lake

NICCI MCDOUGALL AND GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2012
The fire and tractor
BARRY HARCOURT/Southland Times

CLOSE CALL: Firefighters battle the blaze which sent Lex Lawrence and his tractor into the water.

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"She'll be right." Those are the words from a Te Anau tractor driver, who drove his flaming machine into the lake on Saturday.

Lex Lawrence, who cuts lawns to tidy up the town, said the warm and dry weather conditions had caused the long grass on the new housing estate, The Delta, to catch fire.

It was more than 30degC in Te Anau on Saturday and the second grass fire on a housing estate within a week, he said.

While trying to beat the grass fire out, he turned to find his tractor was also on fire.

"So I jumped in the tractor and drove it into the lake, as deep as I could go. I was lucky the lake was so close," he said.

Driving it in to a depth of the top of the back tyres, he realised he could have lost his tractor. But with mainly melted cables, it was nothing money could not fix, he said.

"We won't be cutting any more grass until it rains," he said.

Te Anau Fire Service is advising people to cut grass in the cooler parts of the day, namely morning or evening.

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- The Southland Times

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