Antique tractor saved from barn fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Antique tractor saved from barn fire


A fire in southern Black Hawk County destroyed a barn and killed two goats. Rescue crews were called to the 2100 block of Tama Road Thursday morning. A neighbor driving by noticed the smoke and flames and called 911.

Despite the loss of the barn and goats, a prized possession was able to be saved before the barn went up in flames, a 1954 John Deere "720" tractor.

"When I looked at it I knew it was too late to save anything because it was going into the doors and the windows and coming out under the eves," said Ruth Beck, the barn owner.

The barn is a complete loss. It took firefighters around three hours to put it out. There was no saving it. Ruth Beck says something good did come out of it, her antique tractor that has a lot of meaning to her and it was all possible with the help of a neighbor.

Rick Green was moving machinery to his fields when he noticed the smoke and flames. He asked what was in the barn and as soon as Beck answered he jumped into action.

"He brought a log chain down and they hooked it to his pick up and he slowly, after he took it out of gear, pulled it out and drove it over across the road," said Beck.

You may ask why is this tractor is so special, besides it being in the Beck family for more than 50 years. It was just one of three tractors to participate in the Nebraska Test in 1956.

During the Nebraska Test it was put through its paces. Horse power, operating maximum load-- they were all measured.

After the tests were complete this John Deere tractor with the serial number 7200000 was sold to Donald beck, who drove it home from the back gate of John Deere plant in Waterloo.

"I get probably a call a month from somebody wanting to buy it because somebody has number one or they just want to own this 0000 tractor. It's very special. I have no intentions of selling it right now," said Beck.

The John Deere 720 did not live a sheltered life on the Beck farm. It was their main working tractor on their 400-acre farm for a number of years. In 1998 the Becks had the tractor restored at a cost of around $10,000.

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