Crews tackling major barn blaze feared asbestos contamination

Crews from three fire stations were called out to tackle a major barn fire in South Devon.

Fire engines from Kingsbridge, Totnes and Modbury were called to the farm at Grimpstoneeigh near Kingsbridge at around 8am on Saturday.

A Modbury fire spokesman said when they arrived the barn had contained 50 bales of hay that were now a small smouldering pile within the barn.

Half the barn roof was damaged by fire and, because it was suspected that asbestos was present, crews took precautions to protect themselves.

All crews wore respiratory masks and the remaining fire was covered in Compressed Air Foam (CAFS). Crews were also required to work within the risk area damping down and raking out.

A Kingsbridge fire spokesman said they used a farm tractor and fork lift to remove the straw to open ground where it was dampened down. He said:

“This was a long job due to the location and access was difficult with up to a foot and a half of mud in places. Once the job was complete we then returned to the fire station to clean up equipment used and of course our own fire kit.

It was a long, slow, messy process working on a very muddy site.”