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Freak fire accident claims farmer’s life

Date Posted: 2005-04-28

An elderly Miyako farmer is dead after accidentally setting himself afire while burning sugar cane on his farm.

Miyako Police say the 86-year-old farmer was conducting a post-harvest burn on his property. They say the controlled burns are done periodically to fertilize the soil and remove undesirable wild plants and insects.

The farmer’s clothes caught fire during the burn exercise. A neighbor witnessed it, and called an ambulance. The farmer was medivac’ed to Chubu Hospital in Okinawa, where he died of his injuries.

Miyako Police have issued new warnings to farmers not to burn their fields alone. “There should always be at least two or three people to control the flames. It is too dangerous to do alone.”

Neighbors say the elderly farmer in this instance always worked alone. “He didn’t want to ask anybody’s help with something he had done all his life,” a neighbor said.

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