‘Sus­pi­cious’ fires de­stroy 200 tonnes of baled hay

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Two More Farms Left Counting The Cost Of Blazes - By Vicky Cas­tle

Fire crews were called to three ‘sus­pi­cious’ blazes in Bils­ing­ton soon af­ter mid­night on Fri­day af­ter bales of hay were set alight.

A mem­ber of the public di­alled 999 af­ter see­ing the flames in Newchurch Road.

The fire ser­vice sent one pump and a Fog­ging Unit to tackle the fires and the farm owner used a me­chan­i­cal dig­ger to help break up the hay bales so fire­fight­ers could get to the seat of the fires.

The Fog­ging Unit is a spe­cial all-ter­rain 4x4 that uses a hose at­tached to a lance to tackle deep seated fires in hard-to-reach ar­eas that a fire en­gine would strug­gle to get close to.

The in­ferno de­stroyed around 200 tonnes of hay – the farmer used his own ma­chin­ery as a bar- rier to stop the rest of the field go­ing up in flames.

A fire ser­vice spokesman said: “Fire crews were called to the scene at 12.07am on Fri­day. There were three dif­fer­ent hay bale stacks on fire from two dif­fer­ent farms within half-a-mile of each other.

“We sent one pump and a Fog- ging Unit to the in­ci­dent as the 4 x 4 is a good way to get to out­door scenes where en­gines strug­gle to get to.

“The Fog­ging Unit was used to at­tack one and they used a me­chan­i­cal dig­ger to help break up the stacks to gain ac­cess to the fire.

“Of­fi­cers waited for the fire to burn out while un­der con­trol and were at the scene un­til 2.07pm on Fri­day.

“We do not know how it started but the time of day it started makes us think it must be ma­li­cious.

“We have sent a fire of­fi­cer to do an in­spec­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Po­lice be­lieve the in­ci­dent could pos­si­bly be linked to re­cent barn fires on the Isle of Shep­pey.

A po­lice spokesman said: “Of­fi­cers will be mak­ing in­quiries to es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances.”

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM3365030

Fire­men still at the scene of a fire in a field in Newchurch Road Bils­ing­ton

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM3365043

The fire in a field in on the B2067 and Boat Lane Bon­ning­ton

A Fog­ging Unit used by Kent Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice for deep-seated fires

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