Farmer praises fire crews after huge blaze

A FARMER is counting the cost of a devastating barn fire which he suspects was the work of arsonists.

John Adams is thankful none of his livestock were killed by the flames, which tore through the massive single-storey building in the early hours of yesterday.

But Mr Adams, who evacuated 10 horses to safety as the fire took hold, admitted he had not even sat down to think about the cost of damage caused by the blaze, which quickly spread out of control, engulfing the 30sq m barn in a matter of minutes.

The blaze broke out in a farm building used for storing hay, straw and a lorry, off Marsh Lane, Felixstowe, shortly after 6am.

A fire crew from the town was first sent to the scene but another engine was soon mobilised, based on the volume of emergency calls received. More firefighters followed from Woodbridge and from Princes Street and Colchester Road stations in Ipswich.

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Mr Adams, 48, a dairy, beef and arable farmer, was woken by a phone call from a neighbour who heard the fire thundering through the nearby barn.

“It was well and truly alight by then so there was nothing anyone could do,” he said.

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“The fire service got here quickly and were brilliant.

“They made sure the surrounding buildings didn’t go up.” By 7am there were six crews on the scene encircling the massive barn.

The building was by then completely alight and the flames were being fuelled by stacks of hay inside. Horses were evacuated from a nearby stable, where firefighters also cooled two diesel tanks in case the blaze spread.

By about 8am the fire had been surrounded and was fully extinguished. Salvation Army volunteers provided refreshments for firefighters throughout.

Mr Adams said he didn’t know how the fire started but was ruling out an accident.

He said: “I think it was suspicious. There was no machinery in the barn and nothing else that might have caught alight. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

A Suffolk Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said the cause of the fire “may be suspicious”.

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