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Village lost £10,000 worth of events equipment in barn blaze

The fire started in the early hours of the morning of Friday, January 4 Picture: ESSEX FIRE SERVICE

The fire started in the early hours of the morning of Friday, January 4 Picture: ESSEX FIRE SERVICE

Archant

Around £10,000 worth of equipment used for village fundraising events was completely destroyed in a devastating barn blaze.

The remains of the barn and equipment following the blaze in Pentlow Picture: MIKE WARDThe remains of the barn and equipment following the blaze in Pentlow Picture: MIKE WARD

The fire, in Pentlow Lane, Pentlow, Essex, happened in the early hours of January 4 and a variety of equipment – build up over 20 years – was completely destroyed as well as the barn.

Five crews, both from Essex Fire and Rescue Service and neighbouring Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, were called to the scene around 12.30am and reported the whole barn was alight on arrival.

A number of cylinders had to be removed by firefighters but no-one was injured in the blaze which reduced the barn to a pile of rubble.

The blaze was fully extinguished by 2.30am.

The remains of the barn and equipment following the blaze in Pentlow Picture: MIKE WARDThe remains of the barn and equipment following the blaze in Pentlow Picture: MIKE WARD

The equipment lost in the fire was used for events throughout the year – including the popular summer fete at neighbouring Cavendish, near Sudbury – and included four marquees, three barbecues, 48 traffic cones, 18 6ft tables, six gas cylinders, one tug of war rope, 40 wooden stakes, 30 metal stakes and a collection of signs, bunting and smaller items.

Cavendish Community Council, which purchased the equipment over two decades, said it hopes to be able to restock the items over time to continue to support clubs and societies in the area.

The council’s reserves and money from the insurance claim may not be enough to cover the cost of the lost equipment.

Mike Ward, chairman of the community council, said: “We’ve always had a ‘rainy day’ fund – a contingency fund for things such as if the bonfire night got rained off.

“But we never expected to have to use it to restock equipment that we acquired over 20 years.

“We are able to support village clubs and societies through the free use of the equipment so it’s shocking to lose it all.

“At our next community council meeting, we will discuss what is the best way forward in replacing the equipment lost.

“We hope to be able to slowly get it back so we can continue to support the community.”

Mr Ward added that the next event in the council’s calendar would be Cavendish Open Gardens, which will take place in April.

A spokeswoman for Essex Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the blaze is unknown.

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