A FARMER in Bradford on Avon has praised fire crews after they rushed to his aid when a fire broke out on his land.

The fire at Bearfield Farm in Ashley Road, which engulfed a barn and 500 tonnes of hay, started on Monday night (February 13) as a result of a suspected electrical fault in the milking machinery.

Owner of the farm, Andrew Quick, has since praised the fast reaction of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, who rushed to the scene after the emergency call came in at about 11.30pm.

Mr Quick, 41, said: “Someone from the pub down the road noticed the fire and called the services who got here very quickly. The firefighters were going into the barn with the roof falling down.

"The fire spread to the barn which our sheep are in. We knocked down a wall to let the sheep out but they all just stood there. Thankfully we got most of them out – sadly one died from the wall falling on it.

“If it wasn’t for the fire crews then the barn next to it would’ve probably gone up in flames, as well as the whole of the milking parlour. To be honest the fire crews got it under control pretty quickly.”

Firefighters from Bradford, Corsham, Trowbridge, Devizes and Royal Wootton Bassett were first on the scene, with relief units from Chippenham, Calne, Westbury and Pewsey taking over during the night.

One crew from Malmesbury was still on the scene on Tuesday (February 14), helping to contain the fire to a controlled burn. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said 65 firefighters were involved in the initial operation to bring the blaze under control.

“We managed to start milking on Tuesday afternoon but we had to throw away a lot as our storage had been damaged from the fire, someone came out with an emergency generator so we could start working. It will probably take a couple of months to get everything back to the way it was,” added Mr Quick.

Malmesbury watch manager Chris Harvey said: "The animals were removed from the barn, the milk parlour was affected as well from the fire spreading. So far we believe it was an electrical fire due to a fault in farming machinery."