by Keith Beebe
OSWEGO—The Sugar Grove Fire Protection District on Monday morning was initially dispatched to the Aurora Airport after receiving a report that a B17 airplane was coming in on fire.
The World War II plane departed from the airport sometime around 9:30 a.m. and was forced to land in a field five miles southeast after reporting that one of the plane’s engines was on fire.
“We started to respond to the airport, and we were then notified via the FAA tower that the plane had to land in a field because of the fire,” Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkel said. “We didn’t know where (the field) was at, so I told our dispatch center to advise Bristol-Kendall and Oswego that (the plane) could possibly be in their district.”
Kunkel was notified by Oswego that the plane was indeed in its district, as it had landed near Minkler Road and Route 71. The matter was then turned over to Oswego, though the district did request the aid of two SGFD units to help extinguish the fire.
All seven of the passengers on the aircraft escaped unharmed, but Kunkel said the plane itself could not be saved, as wet field conditions made it difficult to get near the plane and extinguish the fire in time.
“It was very difficult to get to the plane because of the field conditions, (as well as) the location of the fire on the plane,” he said.