Warning to farmers after barn fires

Chipping Sodbury area

Avon Fire & Rescue Service and the police are investigating a series of fires at farm buildings in South Gloucestershire.

During the early hours of Tuesday 11 November firefighters were called to fires at three separate farms in the Chipping Sodbury area. All three are thought to have been started deliberately.

At 01.49hrs three crews were called to Horton Road where they found an outbuilding containing farm machinery and around 30 tonnes of hay well alight. Crews used two jets and hose reels to tackle to blaze.

At 02.08hrs two fire engines attended a fire at Colts Green involving a large static caravan. The blaze also affected a nearby farm building and machinery. Crews used high pressure hose reels to bring the fire under control.

At 02.37hrs two crews from Avon Fire & Rescue Service and one from Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service attended a fire involving a barn at Wapley Road, Codrington.

On arrival fire crews found the 10x20 metre barn well alight. Four jets and a high pressure hose reel were used to extinguish the fire which involved around 100 tonnes of hay and farm machinery.

All three fires are believed to have been started deliberately and the police are investigating whether there is a link between the three.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager Anton Awramenko said: “While we work with the police to investigate these fires I would encourage owners of farms and stables in the South Gloucestershire area to check their security arrangements and report anything suspicious.

“These fires caused extensive damage at three farms and although no one was hurt, this type of fire can be devastating to people’s livelihoods and may put human and animal life at risk.

“Attending three significant fires within an hour also puts a demand on our resources. Had there been incidents where lives were at risk at the same time it may have taken us longer to get there.”

Farms are particularly vulnerable to arson due to their often isolated locations, open boundaries and readily ignitable hay and straw stacks.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service is advising farmers to take the following precautions:
• Ensure your property is as secure as possible. This could include locking gates and buildings or installing security lights or cameras.
• Be vigilant and look out for your neighbours too.
• Use your fire risk assessment to identify hazards and determine how you can prevent losses in the event of a fire.
• Clear away rubbish or flammable materials from around buildings.

Anyone with information about the fires should contact Avon and Somerset Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.