Newmarket: Trainer’s relief after horses escape stable blaze

TOP trainer Luca Cumani told of his relief after his horses escaped uninjured after a devastating fire at a stableyard.

Crews from across Suffolk and Cambridgeshire were called to tackle the blaze at the prestigious Bedford House site in Newmarket at 10.30am yesterday.

About 40 firefighters spent more than seven hours at the Bury Road yard as they battled to stop flames consuming the whole building.

Speaking to the EADT from his home close to the scene, Mr Cumani said he was “upset” at the destruction, but relieved that all of the horses had escaped harm.

Witnesses told how nine two-year-old horses were led to safety by staff after smoke was seen drifting from the 30-metre long stable.

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A senior member of staff said: “We were just feeding horses at about half-past ten when the fire started,” he said.

“I could see smoke coming through the stable roof. At first I thought it was dust and then I took a second glance and thought it could be smoke. As I got closer I could see flames through the air vents. It was panic really. We just got the horses out of the ten boxes and dialled 999.”

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The staff member, who asked not to be named, revealed a horse which had previously occupied the stall below where the fire started had only recently been moved.

Mr Cumani, whose stables were once home to Derby winners Kahyasi and High Rise, insisted it was still “business as usual.”

The 63-year-old later took to Twitter to thank emergency services for their “incredibly quick response and effective action”.

Melbourne Cup hopes Mount Athos and Quest For Peace are among the horses in Mr Cumani’s care, but they were not located near the fire.

All the horses in the affected block were said to be two-year-olds who are yet to start their racing careers.

Karl Rolfe, area commander for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said two crews from Newmarket were joined by crews from Burwell and Mildenhall after it became clear that the fire was already “well established” by 10.30am.

A water carrier from Newmarket, a multistar appliance from Bury St Edmunds and a command unit and support appliance from Ixworth were also mobilised by just after 11am.

Mr Rolfe said it had been necessary for firefighters to repeatedly change shifts to avoid heat exhaustion.

Relief crews were mobilised from Clare, Elmswell, Brandon, Debenham, Needham Market and Sudbury fire stations at just after 2.15pm

Crews used axes and saws to ease tiles from the roof in a bid to access “voids” and prevent the fire from spreading along the length of the stable block.

Five hose reels and two jets were used as firefighters in breathing apparatus battled to surround the blaze.

Crews were last night continuing to dampen down the scene.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is expected to begin today.

Mr Rolfe said there was nothing to suggest that the cause of the fire was suspicious.

In 1997, Mr Cumani led 11 of his horses to safety after arson attacks on a stable block near his home and another at his Kremlin Stud Yard.

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