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County commissioner's riding mower bursts into flames; no injuries in mishap

Dick Devine watches as Park Rapids firefighters extinguish his burning lawn mower. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

"I jumped off and got the hell out of the way," Hubbard County commissioner Dick Devine said after his riding mower burst into flames Wednesday.

Devine was able to steer the mower away from his residence to the middle of End of Day Drive off High-way 71 north of Park Rapids. A mini inferno had engulfed the machine by the time firefighters arrived on the scene just after 2:30 p.m. The commission had held its twice-monthly meeting until nearly 1 p.m.

Devine stood holding a small canister fire extinguisher. He admitted it wasn't much good in the situation.

Devine said he'd just mentioned to wife Julie they needed a new mower. Now they truly do. He'd thought of hauling this one to dump. "I won't have much to haul," he observed.

He joked that he hoped his insurance would cover the cost of the fire call. A Park Rapids crew quickly extinguished the blaze.

Devine says he has no idea what made the engine catch fire. He was able to dismount before he was injured.