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Sunday, June 10,2012

Local probe of toy-tractor fire closed, but feds taking an interest

Photo Credits:
Photo Caption: This John Deere toy tractor may be similar to one that was being ridden by a 2-year-old Albany boy June 3 when it caught on fire.

The Albany Volunteer Fire Department has wrapped up its investigation of a toy tractor fire that badly burned a 2-year-old Setty Road boy earlier this month. Federal product safety officials have now taken an interest in the case, however.

Fire Chief Roger Deardorff said Sunday that "we've closed (the investigation) out. (The cause of the fire) is listed as 'undetermined.'"

Deardorff reported, however, that he has been asked by an official of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to send that agency a copy of his report on the matter.

"All I know is, they have requested a copy of the report," he said. "They haven't said a lot to me."

Deardorff had said earlier that due to extreme fire damage, it was impossible to identify the make and model of the battery-operated, drivable toy tractor that burst into flames while it was being ridden by 2-year-old Wyatt Buckley June 3. Quick action by the boy's father extinguished the boy's flaming clothing, but he had to be taken to a Columbus hospital and has undergone multiple surgeries.

On Sunday, however, the fire chief reported that the toy appears, based on some stickers that were on it, to have been a John Deere brand. This company has sold more than one model of battery-operated toy tractor, however.

"It had John Deere stickers on it," he said. "But for the make and model, it's the same as we came up with before."

Reportedly, some battery-operated toy tractors may pose increased fire hazards if factory batteries are replaced with batteries from motorcycles or actual lawn tractors. According to product reviews on, the replacement batteries hold a charge longer and are cheaper than replacing the factory batteries.

The fire chief said he did question father Marlon Buckley about whether he made any modifications to the toy.

"I talked to him on Friday, and (he said) no modifications had been made to it," Deardorff reported.


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