Barn and 100 tonnes of hay destroyed in fire

Hay barn fire, Stowbridge. Picture: Ian Burt

Hay barn fire, Stowbridge. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A farmer is today counting the cost after one of his barns, containing 100 tonnes of hay bales, was burnt to the ground.

Hay barn fire, Stowbridge. Picture: Ian Burt

Hay barn fire, Stowbridge. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Smoke could be seen from 10 miles away as firefighters from across the region attended the scene of the fire in Stowbridge, near Downham Market.

David Russell, responsible for the building on Willowing Farm, in West Head Road, said the first he heard about the fire was when he received a phone call yesterday afternoon when the building was in flames.

He said: 'I really don't know how it happened because I wasn't there. Someone called me to say the building was on fire.

'You can't put a hay fire out without gallons of water; the only real option was to let it burn out under controlled conditions and make sure it didn't spread to neighbouring properties.

'The roof was also asbestos, which also doesn't mix well with fire. We're just thankful that everybody is safe and nobody is hurt.'

Police closed West Head Road and diverted traffic away from the scene while firefighters attended to the blaze, which also involved a nearby hedge.

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Crews from Downham Market, Terrington, King's Lynn, Methwold, Fakenham and Wisbech all attended the incident and firefighters remained on the scene throughout the evening.

Eyewitness Valarie Smither, of Low Road, said: 'I saw the sky filled with black smoke at about 2.30pm this afternoon.

'I counted seven fire engines rush past and the smoke was high up into the sky. I could hear the cracking of the fire burning away, and it's still going strong three hours later.'

Firefighters from Downham Market, Terrington, King's Lynn, Methwold, Fakenham and Wisbech all attended the incident.

It is believed nobody was injured during the fire.

Did you see what happened? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk