Around 50 pigs had a lucky escape last Friday when the smallholding in Colerne in which they were housed went up in flames.

Firefighters were horrified to discover that the blaze could have been even more serious if they had not discovered that the building, off Tutton Hill, also contained acetylene gas cylinders, which are highly explosive.

The incident was quickly escalated after the original call out at 2.20pm and a 200m cordon was put in place around the site, forcing the closure of the road between Box and Colerne because of the smallholding’s close proximity to the narrow track.

Six fire crews from Corsham, Chippenham, Melksham, Devizes and Bath attended as well as a water carrier from Pewsey.

Corsham watch manager Mark Unwin said: “The owner of the site told us to beware of one of the pigs that was running around and then when he said there were gas cylinders inside the workshop we got out of there quickly and set up a cordon. You cannot take risks with them as they can be very dangerous. We then went through a process of cooling them to make them safe which took several hours.”

No people or animals were injured throughout the ordeal.

Julian Parsons, Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager, who was on the scene, said: “There must have been around 50 pigs in the holding. We have been to a lot of these sorts of fires and quite often they don’t make it and it can be very sad, but miraculously they were all running around seemingly oblivious to it all. As the blaze was being tackled they ran around inside because we couldn’t get in with the risk of the gas cylinders exploding.”

The smallholding is believed to be owned by a man from the Bristol area.

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service say that the cause of the fire is still being investigated.