Update: Fire crews tackle barn blaze near Instow
17:33 18 July 2013
Witnesses on the A39 report plumes of black smoke coming from the farm building.
A FARM building near Bideford was completely destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon (Thursday).
The contents of the wooden workshop were also severely damaged during the blaze at Beacon Farm, on the back roads at Instow.
A number of witnesses travelling along the A39 called to report plumes of black smoke coming from the building at around 4.30pm.
The first Bideford firefighters on scene battled to save a second barn from catching fire but were beaten back by exploding gas cylinders and diesel tanks.
Back-up was called for, and at the height of the blaze, around 26 firefighters from Bideford, Barnstaple, Appledore and Ilfracombe fought flames in desperately dry conditions.
Watch manager Neil Hole said: “There were explosions as we turned up and it made fire fighting very difficult as we had to work from a safe blast zone.
“We managed to cool the cylinders and although the fire spread to the second barn, we were able to save it, albeit with some slight damage to one side.
“Due to the extreme heat, crews worked very hard to bring the fire under control but it was not an easy job and due to the dry conditions, sparks threatened to set alight a nearby dung heap, as well as an adjacent field.”
Firefighters remained on the scene until midnight.
Mr Hole said the fire was thought to have been caused by a spark from an angle grinder or from an angle grinder that was left unattended after being used.
He said: “We would like to remind people that if they are using machinery in this weather be careful where you are using it.
“Fire can spread so quickly because it’s been so dry. If the heatwave continues, it’s going to get a lot worse.”