Firefighters battled 20ft-high flames in hay barn blaze
FIREFIGHTERS battled 20ft high flames when a barn containing hay caught alight yesterday morning.
Crews were faced with smoke and fire after being called to The Tump Barn in Barrow near Boddington just after 6am.
The 10ft-high Dutch barn, containing 10 tonnes of hay, was engulfed with flames when the crews from Cheltenham West arrived.
The blaze damaged a trailer and two wheels of a tractor, along with the hay.
Rich Lockyear, station manager for Cheltenham West, said a minimum 11 firefighters were at the scene during the six-hour battle against the flames.
He said: "When we arrived we were faced with a well-developed barn fire.
"Hay is very combustible and burns quickly so crews were faced with a lot of smoke and a lot of fire.
"If you apply water straight onto the hay it smoulders and could re-ignite. To avoid this, we have to drag out the contents and tackle the fire in smaller, more manageable volumes to make sure we completely put the fire out.
"We are not able to establish the cause of the fire at this time but there doesn't seem to be any suspicious circumstances.
"The amount of heat generated means our firefighters couldn't get too close to it."
He added that tackling hay fires could be very labour intensive because of how quickly the flames spread.
"The ground is also slippery – with lot of mud down there the equipment gets muddy and underfoot is precarious," she added.
Mr Lockyear, who works for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, added that barn fires such as this were more often seen in the summer than the winter. He said: "We would urge anyone storing items, equipment or machinery in barns to take the time to check they are storing those items safely and appropriately.
"If in doubt, seek advice from the fire service."
Neighbours said they were woken by the sounds of sirens around 6am.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, yesterday said: "I had a look out the window and there was a lot of smoke coming from the area.
"I saw everyone was okay because the fire brigade was there and so I went back to bed.
"There has been a lot of comings and goings this morning and noise from the area.
"It is good everyone is okay, although I hope there was not too much damage."
No animals were kept in the barn.
Parts of the green painted roof and sides of it were left black with smoke damage.