A BARN blaze at Rydon Farm near Newton Abbot in which a horse was killed and 500 tonnes of hay destroyed is thought to have been started deliberately.
The large metal-framed barn at Ogwell caught fire during the night. One horse was killed and up to 500 tonnes of hay destroyed.
The fire service said they had received numerous calls for the barn on fire.
Video by Andy Styles
Paul Gammin has owned the farm for seven years and has been left devastated by the blaze.
“I’ve had the farm for seven years and run it with my wife Susan and son Matthew,” he said.
“We’d just finished harvesting and we were really pleased with ourselves. Now, last night, around 400-500 tonnes of hay were destroyed and it will set us back around £200,000.
“We heard noise outside around 10.30pm and when we went to look the barn was already well alight. We thought the sound was thunder or horses to start with, but then we got up and saw the flames.
“We’re all in shock and it’s a big financial worry for us.”
He said he has spoken to his insurance company.
“Most of the hay was for the horses we keep and it was good quality,” said Paul.
“There’s no doubt I’m depressed and fed up.
“We’d like to thank the fire crews for all they have done , they’ve been brilliant.”
One horse was killed and three ponies had to be left to safety.A police spokesman said the cause of the fire is unknown and they are investigating.
Crew commander Chris Bostin, based at Torquay Fire Station, said he arrived on scene around 12 hours after the fire started as part of a relief crew.
“We were brought in to relieve the crews that were at the scene overnight,” he said.
“The structure of the barn still seems to be in tact, but the beams are distorted so we aren’t letting people into the barn.
“At least 15 hours after the fire started there were still flames. We’re now watching and monitoring the burning and are on standby.
“Six fire appliances and two special units were here at the height of the fire. We hope to be able to reduce our team to one appliance at around 6pm tonight.
“A fire investigation is under way.”
A police spokesman said the cause of the fire is unknown and they are investigating.
Due to the number of calls four fire appliances were mobilised, two from Newton Abbot, one from Ashburton and one from Torquay along with a water carrier from Torquay.
Video by Dawn Ellis
On arrival crews found a large stable block of timber and steel construction which was being used as part stable and part hay storage well alight.
An incident command unit and another pumping appliance were mobilised from Totnes.
Crews are using two sets of breathing apparatus and a main jet to extinguish the fire. A positive pressure fan is being used to ventilate and assist with controlled burning of the hay. Crews are also undertaking salvage.
By 1am steady progress was being made and a number of horses have been led to safety.
An hour later two relief crews were at the incident, with steady progress being made allowing the hay to burn under control.
A 4am update said crews were still making steady progress with one main jet to cool the main structure and standing barn as well as four positive pressure ventilation fans.
At 6am it was confirmed that approximately 300 tonnes of hay and straw had already been destroyed by fire.
Another update at 8.30am said crews were still making steady progress with one hose reel jet damping down surrounding vegetation while the hay continued to burn under control with the assistance of three positive pressure ventilation fans.
At midday the fire service confirmed that the barn, measuring 30 metres by 50 metres and made of steel and timber, had 50 per cent of its roof destroyed, along with 50 per cent of the hay inside.
Twenty per cent of the stables section was destroyed by fire.
The statement ended: "The cause of fire is believed to be deliberate ignition."