Vinita Couple Loses 100 Hay Bales To Fire

Tuesday, December 30th 2008, 4:50 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, News On 6

CRAIG COUNTY -- A Christmas day fire didn't threaten lives, but is threatening the livelihood of some Green Country ranchers. More than 100 hay bales may have been set on fire near Vinita.

It's hard for the ranchers who saw all their hard work go up in smoke.

Jeff and Kelly Lewis were enjoying Christmas at a relative's home when someone played scrooge. It's suspected vandals intentionally set their hay on fire.

"We got here and almost every bit of our hay was gone. There were a couple of rows that hadn't caught fire yet," said Kelly Lewis, Craig County resident.

The Lewis' saved what they could, but lost 140 bales they had stored for the winter for their livestock.

"It's just sickening, all that hard work. And when we bailed all this, diesel was $4.50 a gallon, even for the red diesel. So it's a lot of money, lot of time," said Jeff Lewis, Craig County resident.

The couple says it was frustrating seeing their efforts go up in smoke. It's a costly dilemma. Each one of the round bales of hay this year would go for about $25 dollars. Do the math and it adds up to an expensive problem.

The cost to replace the hay will have to come out of their pocket.

"That's another $2,000 or $3,000 that you've got to cough up somewhere," said Jeff Lewis.

"To have to replace, it's not going to be easy," said Kelly Lewis.

Easy or not, finding new hay and the money to pay for it, will have to be done to feed their cattle.

With so many challenges already in agriculture, the Lewis' say arson is something they and other ranchers shouldn't have to deal with.

"It happens every year. People light it for whatever reason. I don't know what they get out of that," said Jeff Lewis.

"Apparently they have no self respect because they don't have any respect for someone else's things," said Kelly Lewis.

Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the Craig County Sheriff's Office at (918)256-6466.