As Canadians, we know maple syrup goes on just about everything: even house fires.
That’s what happened in February when a local family noticed a fire on their neighbour’s property – and failing to locate water, decided to battle the blaze with something a little sweeter.
Terry Hering and his three sons Trent, Tyler, and Tanner own and operate Hering’s Maple Syrup in the small town of Watersville, Minnesota. Terry and Tyler were on their way home with a full haul of maple tree sap when they noticed something amiss on their neighbour’s property.
“Dad and Tyler were hauling sap and just happened to be driving by [their neighbour’s property] when they saw smoke,” Trent Hering told Global News. “So they decided to try and help.”
As they pulled into their neighbour’s driveway, they noticed his outdoor wood burner and wood pile were engulfed in flames threatening to spread on the windy afternoon.
With no hose nearby and seemingly no other large source of liquid at hand, the Hering family decided to use what they had: 1,500 gallons of maple tree sap.
Tyler and Terry Hering also happened to be driving in an old fire truck, purchased from the local fire department several years ago and used to haul sap as part of the family’s syrup business.
And so, at the scene of a fire threatening to spread out of control comes a fire truck loaded with flame-fighting tree sap.
“Dad couldn’t believe what he was seeing,” Trent Hering said. “The heat from the fire caused the sap to cook off. So the whole fire began to smell like maple syrup.”
Hering estimates his father and brother sprayed between 300 and 400 gallons of sap to contain the blaze. A large amount of sap but a drop in the bucket for the Hering family, which produces 55,000 gallons of sap a day.
For those wondering: maple tree sap is over 90 per cent water, so its properties as a flame fighting liquid – while not ideal – are at least adequate for an emergency situation.
Hering’s neighbour Jeremy Schwartz – himself a member of the Waterville fire department – is thankful for the quick thinking of his neighbours, even as he ponders their unique methods.
“I’m thankful Terry responded and did what he did,” Schwartz told Minnesota South News. “I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone using sap to put out a fire before, but it worked.”