Firefighter's distress as more than 30 pigs die in farm blaze

PUBLISHED: 15:13 08 September 2016 | UPDATED: 22:57 08 September 2016

Pumps attended the scene of a fire in Bedingfield in Suffolk.

Pumps attended the scene of a fire in Bedingfield in Suffolk.

Sarah Lucy brown

The man in charge of fighting a large blaze at a farm in Bedingfield where more than 30 pigs were killed says it was one of the most distressing sights he has ever witnessed.

Area commander Ian Bowell said firefighters and the family who own the farm desperately fought to free the animals, rescuing as many pigs as they could.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to the farm in Hall Road at 11.25am yesterday to a blaze in a 50 x 20metre barn containing straw and hay.

Next to the hay barn was a building housing pigs which then also caught fire.

Mr Bowell said: “I believe approximately 30 to 40 pigs have perished in the fire or have had to be put down.

“Believe you me, that was one of the most distressing sights I have ever witnessed, when you have a large number of animals that have suffered burns that need help.

“The first crew that got there and the family that run the farm took sledgehammers to try to knock a hole in the brick wall of the barn to get as many pigs as they could out.

“Life risk is always our priority whether it is human or animal.”

Mr Bowell said the situation was further complicated as the hay barn had a sheet asbestos roof.

“In itself that is not dangerous, but it cracks and splinters so we have to manage that risk.”

Seven appliances from Diss, Ipswich, Woodbridge, Bury St Edmunds, Debenham Needham Market, Stowmarket and Harleston attended the fire.

The first crews arrived within 20 minutes of the call and the incident was under control by 1.30pm. However firefighters remained on site monitoring the controlled burn of straw and other materials.

Witness Liam Wright, 19, who was staying with his grandparents next door to the farm, helped herd the pigs that had escaped the fire.

“The flames were massive when it first went up,” he said.

“We helped the farmers by stopping the pigs going everywhere – there were around 50 outside the farmer’s road.

“From a distance a fire never looks as bad as it is.

“As we got closer the sound of the pigs trapped inside nearly brought a tear to my eye.”

Mr Bowell said they were not treating the fire as suspicious as they believe it was caused by a spark from a piece of farm machinery.

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