‘Miracle’ of fire at 42ft

PUBLISHED: 14:30 16 August 2012

David Rand outside of the dryer

David Rand outside of the dryer

Nigel_Luckhurst

A FARMER has praised firefighters who put out a blaze that started 42ft up on a grain drier saying it is a “complete miracle” he can continue as normal.

The fire started when a kerosene fired mechanism ignited chaff and spread into the grain on Saturday at Hatchpen Farm and Grain Store in Reed.

Roughly 80 tonnes of chicken feed was being stored but through the firefighters quick action it was all saved – bar one tonne.

Mr Rand said: “We are still running but it will have to be sorted in the winter and the metal in the general area will have to be replaced with new panels.

“We are extremely lucky, it is a complete miracle that it was concentrated in a part of the drier that didn’t have any electronics.”

He added: “The manager of the fire brigade and his team were very competent and also very brave to go up there with me.

“The fire brigade were absolutely brilliant, we would have been in serious trouble without them.”

The alarm was raised at 12.50pm and crews from Royston, Stevenage and Baldock attended the scene. Crews fought the blaze and removed the grain, moving the burning feed down the drier so it could be extinguished.

Despite the fire Mr Rand, whose family have worked the land since 1932, remained calm.

He told the Crow: “I was up near the control room then we saw a large amount of flame and smoke come out of the exhaust.

“I just thought dial 999, to be honest I am used to it, this is the fourth time it has happened in my farming career.

“We’re told not to panic and assess the situation and assess it again with the fire brigade when they get here – then you have to get a general plan for how you tackle the fire”

The farm processes 15,000 tonnes of grain a year that is sent around the country for a variety of uses.

Royston fire chief Les Jones said: “Five appliances attended from Hertfordshire and firefighters worked hard to save the unburnt grain from the fire.

“They were on scene for three hours and it is nice to receive praise for our efforts.”

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