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‘Like something from the movies’ – Farmer tells of horror after fire destroys barn

PUBLISHED: 15:16 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:50 18 January 2018

Firefighters brought the blaze under control by around 8.17am. 
Picture: Nick Butcher

Firefighters brought the blaze under control by around 8.17am. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A farmer has described the terrifying moment he awoke to the sight of a fire tearing through one of his outbuildings.

Farm owner Geoffrey Meen (left) with his grandson Richard Meen in the burnt out barn at Laurels Farm in Barsham. Picture: Nick ButcherFarm owner Geoffrey Meen (left) with his grandson Richard Meen in the burnt out barn at Laurels Farm in Barsham. Picture: Nick Butcher

Geoffrey Meen, 71, was disturbed just after 6am this morning by flashes of light creeping through his bedroom curtains on Laurels Farm in Barsham.

As he looked out of the window to investigate, he was faced with the alarming sight of a small fire in one of his barns.

However, with strong winds sweeping across the farm, the blaze spread quickly and the building – full of farm machinery – was soon engulfed by flames.

The fire destroyed a barn full of farming machinery. Picture: Nick ButcherThe fire destroyed a barn full of farming machinery. Picture: Nick Butcher

“As soon as I saw what was happening I shouted out to my wife to call the fire brigade, got dressed and went downstairs,” said Mr Meen.

“It really was a scary sight; it was like something you see in the movies.”

With the fire service having been alerted, a total of eight vehicles from both Suffolk and Norfolk were mobilised to deal with the blaze.

Firefighters worked quickly to stop the fire from spreading but the damage was already done. Picture: Nick ButcherFirefighters worked quickly to stop the fire from spreading but the damage was already done. Picture: Nick Butcher

Part of the B1062 running through Barsham was closed while firefighters attended the scene.

“The fire engines arrived really fast but watching the burning building made it seem like a lifetime,” added Mr Meen, who has worked in farming since he was 15.

“There were so many bright blue lights that I couldn’t tell how many fire engines there were.

Geoffrey Meen said it was lucky that the fire didn't spread to any other of his outbuildings. Picture: Nick ButcherGeoffrey Meen said it was lucky that the fire didn't spread to any other of his outbuildings. Picture: Nick Butcher

“If it wasn’t for the fire service, the blaze could easily have spread even further and we’re incredibly lucky it didn’t reach any other barns.

“The firefighters really did save the day - they’re brilliant people.”

Crews managed to extinguish the fire by 8.17am, with some remaining on the scene until 11am to ensure the smoke was dampened down.

Despite the loss of farming machinery and an important storage space, Mr Meen is doing his best to stay positive. Picture: Nick ButcherDespite the loss of farming machinery and an important storage space, Mr Meen is doing his best to stay positive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mr Meen says he will now assess whether anything from inside the barn can be salvaged and is doing his best to stay positive.

“The barn was an important storage space for us and we’ll have to see whether anything can be repaired,” he said.

“It’s a disaster but there are people out there who are a lot worse off than me.”

The burnt out barn in the aftermath of the fire. 
Picture: Nick ButcherThe burnt out barn in the aftermath of the fire. Picture: Nick Butcher

A Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the brigade will be liaising with police to establish the cause of the blaze, with an investigation due to take place today.

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