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‘Firenado’ photographer says whirling column of fire was ‘intense’

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CHILLICOTHE, Mo. -- It's a photo that's caught a lot of eyes online. Chillicothe, Mo. was home to a rare event during the weekend, a "Firenado."

One Livingston County farm's owners were burning off some old crop on their seven-acre piece of land this past Saturday when a real Kodak moment happened.

Chillicothe resident Jenae Copelin pulled up just in time to see a firenado, a whirling cyclone of fire going from the ground into the sky.

Copelin and her kids were on their way to buy new shoes. They didn't imagine the photo she would send to Instagram would be seen around the world.

"I looked over here and noticed most of this field was on fire," Copelin said. "The Instagrammer in me wanted to pull over and take a picture. The fire whipped up into that whirlwind. It was intense."

RELATED: Woman snaps pic of fire twister that forms as farmer burns off field

All told, Copelin snapped five shots of the fire funnel. FOX 4 Meteorologist Mike Thompson said it's a phenomenon that can happen when cool air above the heat of the fire starts an updraft.

Farm Owner Frances Dominque hadn't seen the photos from her property. She's lived on this plot of land for most of her life, since 1953.

Dominque was helping two men with that controlled burn on Saturday morning. She says it wasn't the only firenado she saw that day.

"There was a smaller one down here to start with," Dominque said.

Copelin says she wasn't counting on the online attention she's getting.

"It makes you realize how small the world is with the internet and Instagram and Facebook and all that," Copelin said.

Copelin says she was afraid for her life, and for those of the people in her car. Dominque says at 85 years old, she can say she's seen it all.

Both Domqinue and Copelin say the fire never burned out of control, and no one was injured in the blaze.

Click here to see Sean McDowell's FOX 4 Facebook page.

 

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