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Firefighters tackle Suffolk barn blaze before it reaches explosive gas cylinders

PUBLISHED: 17:39 11 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:15 11 May 2018

Fire crews tackle a large blaze at Great Common Farm, Ilketshall St Andrew. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Fire crews tackle a large blaze at Great Common Farm, Ilketshall St Andrew. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Archant © 2018

Quick-thinking firefighters managed to avert disaster and gain control of a major farm fire before the blaze reached potentially explosive gas cylinders.

The remains of the buildings after the fire. Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe remains of the buildings after the fire. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The fire occurred at Great Common Farm, in Top Road, Ilketshall St Andrew, near Beccles, today.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue were alerted of the blaze at around noon.

Incident commander Adrian Chapman said: “Initially three fire engines were sent up, this escalated to six and then eight as it was quite a severe fire.

“They quickly knocked down the fire and stopped it spreading to the adjoining buildings.”

Three large farm units were affected by the fire with one found to be containing diesel, oxy acetylene cylinders, pesticides, herbicides and propane gas cylinders.

However, once the crews became aware of the hazards they were forced to withdraw and readdress their tactics.

Mr Chapman said: “The crews were confronted with quite a developed fire and their priority was to stop the fire spreading to the adjoining units, which they managed to do successfully.

“They arrived and started immediately fighting the fire with hose reel jets and then they requested assistance.

Fire crews tackle the large blaze at Great Common Farm, Ilketshall St Andrew. Picture: NICK BUTCHERFire crews tackle the large blaze at Great Common Farm, Ilketshall St Andrew. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

“The fire began in the middle unit and spread to the adjoining units.

“The concern was that the fire would spread further if we couldn’t get enough water on it quickly enough.

“The good work that was done by the first crews was to stop the fire spreading.

“If it had got beyond the third building there was potential for the whole lot to go.

“They did a good job and their tactics were dead right.

“Once we had more crews we had more water to tackle the fire and stop the spread.”

In total 15 fire crews from across Norfolk and Suffolk attended the scene and Top Road was closed to allow crews to shuttle water to continue battling the blaze.

Fire crews remain on scene and are in the process of dampening down the affected buildings.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

And Mr Chapman added: “There will be a fire investigation undertaken to try and establish a cause as we don’t know at this present time what caused it.”

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