Arson probe after another barn fire

PUBLISHED: 12:07 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

The burned out burn

The burned out burn

ARSONISTS are thought to be responsible for a huge barn blaze which firefighters spent more than 30 hours tackling over the weekend. A herd of cattle had to be moved to safety when fire broke out in a barn containing more than 700 bales of hay at Redbourn

ARSONISTS are thought to be responsible for a huge barn blaze which firefighters spent more than 30 hours tackling over the weekend.

A herd of cattle had to be moved to safety when fire broke out in a barn containing more than 700 bales of hay at Redbournbury Farm on Sunday at around 12.30 am.

When firefighters arrived at the scene in Redbournbury Lane, next to the working mill, they found the entire barn of around 30 by 20 metres well alight and it was threatening an adjacent cattle barn more than 100-metres long.

The cattle inside were initially moved along the barn to get them as far away from the blaze as possible but once firefighters established the covering jets, they were moved out and coaxed into a nearby field.

Six fire appliances attended the blaze and because there was no direct water supply, they had to draw water from the River Ver at the nearby ford.

Firefighters concentrated on stopping the blaze from spreading and left the hay to burn out which took around eight hours.

On Monday morning the farmer, under the protection of water jets, began moving the smouldering hay out of the barn, which was completely gutted.

The cattle barn was spared apart from some fire damage to one end.

Police are treating the incident as suspicious and they are appealing for anyone with information to call 0845 3300 222.

The fire is just the latest in a string of suspected arson attacks on barns in the district and firefighters believe they may be linked.

Among the farms affected last year were Windridge Farm in Bedmond Lane, Little Munden Farm in Bricket Wood where 30 horses had to be rescued and Marford Farm in Wheathampstead.

A barn was also gutted by fire at Pound Farm in Sandridge where four horses had to be rescued and a few months before that a barn containing a BBC Top Gear set in the adjacent farm was destroyed.

The Herts Fire and Rescue service issued a warning to all farmers this week to be diligent and to report any unusual activity to the police.

In recent weeks the service has been working with the National Farmers Union (NFU) running a local initiative to reduce the risk of arson at local farms.

So far, 17 farms have benefited from this visit, which involves a member of the fire service conducting a visual safety check of farms and their vulnerable buildings, and identifying risk factors with advice being given to reduce these risks.

Any farms wishing to take advantage of this free safety check should contact Peter Chapman on 07582 684800.

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