'Some idiot set fire to it' - farmer fears blaze was started deliberately
- Credit: Denise Bradley
A farmer fears a massive fire which destroyed a large barn, straw and machinery was started deliberately.
Firefighters from Diss, Hethersett, Long Stratton, East Harling , Wymondham, Harleston and Watton were still on the scene of the blaze on Lodge Drive, Winfarthing, hours after it broke out in the early hours of Saturday.
Eric Cole, whose family has owned Lodge Farm for generations, said it had destroyed tonnes of straw, along with his combine harvester and tractors.
"The combine would be £400,000, going that way," he said. "The building's wrecked, that's another £150,000 - £200,000.
"The barn is 50yds long so it's a big barn, a very big barn.
"It's nowhere near the road, there's nothing in there that could set fire to it. Some idiot has been here and set fire to it."
He added the barn was not alight at 3am, when a neighbour passed by, but by just after 4am it was alight on all four sides.
- 1 Restaurant apologises after boy hospitalised with allergic reaction
- 2 Heaven & Hell: David Whiteley and Amelia Reynolds
- 3 Where the streets have no cars... the community that banned the school run
- 4 Revamped 'hidden gem' restaurant hoping to put village on map for food
- 5 'God's waiting room' - Norfolk town is country's pensioner hotspot
- 6 World record? 24 ducklings spotted waddling through Norfolk village
- 7 Former vicarage set in one acre is up for sale - and it needs some TLC
- 8 Fake chefs deliver out-of-date lasagne to Carrow Road ahead of Spurs clash
- 9 Can you answer these 10 GCSE questions designed for 16-year-olds?
- 10 Cyclist airlifted to hospital with serious injuries following incident
Firefighters managed to save cattle from a neighboring building, some of which were due to calve.
Norfolk Fire Service has posted on social media: "We are currently dealing with a large straw stack/agricultural building fire. Residents in the Goose Green and Bunwell areas are advised to keep windows and doors closed due to a large smoke plume."
The fire is expected to take two or three days to burn itself out.
Police and fire investigators will not be able to begin their enquiries until it has become completely extinguished.
In comes just weeks after a barn full of straw at Spring Farm Partnership, near Taverham, was set alight.
A spokesman at the site said: "It is gutting. You spend all summer working hard and invest all that time and money then to see it all gone for no reason."
There were 650 deliberately-started fires in the Norfolk in the year ending June 2021. Home Office figures show arson accounted for around a third of the 1,928 fires in the county during that time.
Mr Cole's family has farmed at Lodge Farm for more than a century.
"There's been a farm in the family for a long, long while," he said. "I don't know exactly when they bought it, it was before the First World War."