Ma­jor blaze at farm is blamed on ‘ar­son­ists’

Leek Post & Times - - NEWS - By Les­lie Jack­son les­lie.jack­son@reach­

AR­SON­ISTS are be­lieved to be re­spon­si­ble for a ma­jor fire in the Staffordshire Moor­lands last week.

Fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion Staffordshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice has said the cause of the large scale blaze in Ched­dle­ton last week is de­lib­er­ate.

Fire­fight­ers were called to Bas­ford Bridge Farm, off Bas­ford Bridge Lane, at 8.32pm on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 30, after re­ports of a large fire in agri­cul­tural build­ings.

At the height of the in­ci­dent eight crews from across the Staffordshire Moor­lands and Stoke-on-trent were in at­ten­dance.

The blaze could be seen from sev­eral miles away. No per­son or any an­i­mals were hurt.

Fire­fight­ers, who were at the scene for al­most three days, had to split the area into three sec­tors to tackle the fire, which in­volved a 40 me­tre by 30 me­tre build­ing full of hay.

Fire crews used sev­eral main jets and a high vol­ume pump to put out the flames, while ma­chin­ery was used to re­move some of the ma­te­ri­als.

The fire­fight­ers, with the help of the owner of the site, con­tin­ued to re­move the hay and damp down hot spots through to Thurs­day, Novem­ber 1.

The blaze caused dis­rup­tion to the lo­cal area with Bas­ford Bridge Lane closed to through traf­fic for the du­ra­tion of the op­er­a­tion.

Fol­low­ing the fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion the in­ci­dent is be­ing treated as de­lib­er­ate and the fire ser­vice is now li­ais­ing with Staffordshire Po­lice.

Fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fi­cer Kelvin Knap­per said: “We be­lieve this in­ci­dent was caused de­lib­er­ately which is ex­tremely wor­ry­ing and dis­ap­point­ing. For­tu­nately no one was hurt dur­ing the fire and no an­i­mals on the site were in­jured ei­ther.

“This fire has taken up con­sid­er­able time and resources and has no doubt been dis­tress­ing for the owner.

“The ser­vice was at the farm for around three days and sev­eral crews were needed to tackle the blaze.

“These resources could have been used else­where to help oth­ers in trou­ble which is why the fact it ap­pears to be a de­lib­er­ate in­ci­dent is frus­trat­ing for ev­ery­one at Staffordshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice.

“We try to ed­u­cate peo­ple about the dan­gers of strat­ing fires as they can eas­ily lead to in­jury or death.

“Any­one start­ing fires could face five years in prison or a £5,000 fine.

“Please keep an eye out for any fire starters in your area and don’t hes­i­tate to call the po­lice if you see any­thing sus­pi­cious.

“If you think some­one may have set a fire please call the fire ser­vice.”

Flames from the blaze at Bas­ford Bridge Farm, Ched­dle­ton, could be seen from sev­eral miles away. Pic­ture by Snap­per­squad mem­ber Emma Loiuse Rowe.

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