Legislator and farmer Gregg Pulver’s combine catches fire

PINE PLAINS — What started as a minor inconvenience on the job led to smoke and flames as Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature Gregg Pulver’s (R-19) 2006 Case-International Harvester (IH) combine caught fire on Monday, April 12.

For those unfamiliar with what a combine does on a farm, Pulver said explained it’s used for harvesting — in his case, his combine harvests corn on his family’s 310-year-old farm at 21 Lake Road in Pine Plains. 

Though this is an atypical time of year to harvest corn, Pulver said the local shooting club, Mashomack Preserve, leaves 50 acres of corn standing all winter long as it makes a great cover for hunting pheasants. However, if they don’t harvest the corn, it becomes weed, adding “extra corn plants in a corn field don’t make good yield.”

The fire itself took place around 12:30 p.m. on the 12th. Pulver was on the combine before it caught aflame, warming it up and getting it ready for the spring harvest by taking it for a ride. Whether it was due to some critter that nibbled on the wires or something more flammable that was next to the machine, Pulver said he and his family are pretty sure the fire started electrically.

When the machine stopped running, Pulver shut the engine off before getting off the combine and heading to his pickup truck. He said he was probably 200 yards away from it when he turned to look back and saw it was starting to smoke, at which point he called 911. 

Responding immediately to Pulver’s call, the Pine Plains Fire Company was quick to respond. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in 20 to 30 minutes, though the damage was already done to the equipment. After talking with his insurance company, Pulver said he was insured for about $100,000.

He said he was just lucky to have avoided injuries or further damage to his farm.

“I’m most fortunate because the idea was to get it warmed up to bring it to the shop to change the oil,” said Pulver. “If it caught on fire in my shop… it would have been a catastrophic fire at that point.”

As much as he hated to lose the combine, Pulver said he was glad he didn’t bring it into the shop where it could have ignited other equipment or one of the buildings.

Despite the Pine Plains Fire Company’s best efforts, the 2006 Case-IH combine owned by Pine Plains farmer and Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature Gregg Pulver (R-19) sustained severe damages after catching on fire on Monday, April 12. Pulver’s insurance company insured the combine at around $100,000. Photo submitted

Photo submitted

Despite the Pine Plains Fire Company’s best efforts, the 2006 Case-IH combine owned by Pine Plains farmer and Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature Gregg Pulver (R-19) sustained severe damages after catching on fire on Monday, April 12. Pulver’s insurance company insured the combine at around $100,000. Photo submitted

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