MIDWAY, AR (KAIT/KY3) - It was an unusual call for the Midway Volunteer Fire Department.
A volleyball-sized hole was burning with flames shooting out of it off of Highway 5 South in Midway.
“A fire was burning roughly two feet in diameter, eight feet tall. And it burned for approximately 40 minutes,” fire chief Don Tucker said.
As content partner KY3 reports, the homeowner who lives nearby said he came outside Monday to flames shooting from the hole up to a billboard.
County leaders are trying to figure out how the phenomenon started but the burning question is what caused the hole and the flames?
“We have contacted every utility company that is in the area. And we know for a fact now that they have lost no service they have nothing there. So there’s nothing to do with utilities, which would be our first inclination to believe something was there,” Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass said.
Some geologists said they do not believe it was caused by a meteorite or lightning strike.
“I can’t think of any geologic situation that would allow that to happen. Not in this area. There’s not any fossil fuels, or natural gas or petroleum that occurs in the area,” said Arkansas Geological Survey Professional Geologist Ty Johnson.
The homeowner said he mowed the lawn recently and did not notice any kind of hole there before the fire.
“What ignited it and what fueled it we still don’t know. And it may remain forever a mystery,” Pendergrass said.