THE major barn blaze at Cheddleton is believed to have been started deliberately.
This is the conclusion of a joint investigation carried out by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Staffordshire Police.
More than 30 callers alerted firefighters to the large scale blaze at a farm off Basford Bridge Lane at around 8.30 on Tuesday night.
Five crews were greeted by a well alight agricultural building, the heat from which could be felt by local residents living some 500 metres away.
Eight crews were in attendance to tackle the raging fire which involved a 40m x 30m building full of hay.
A high volume pump helped firefighters tackle the flames and heavy machinery was used to remove some of the burning straw.
With the help of the occupier the firefighters continued to remove the hay and damp down hot spots through to today (November 1).
The blaze caused disruption to the local area with Basford Bridge Lane closed to through traffic for the duration of the operation.
Fire investigation officer Kelvin Knapper said: “We believe this incident was caused deliberately which is extremely worrying and disappointing. Fortunately no-one was hurt during the fire and no animals on the site were injured either.
“This fire has taken up considerable time and resources and has no doubt been distressing for the owner. The Service was at this farm for around three days and several crews were needed to tackle the blaze.
“These resources could have been used elsewhere to help others in trouble which is why the fact it appears to be a deliberate incident is frustrating for everyone at SFRS. (Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“We try to educate people of the dangers of setting fires as they can easily lead to injury or death. Anyone starting fires could face five years in prison or a £5,000 fine. ”
He appealed to the public: “Please keep an eye out for any fire starters in your area and don’t hesitate to call the police if you see anything suspicious. If you think someone may have set a fire please call the fire service.”
Anyone with information about the Cheddleton blaze is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Pictured above: Seen from the air the destroyed barn (top right) in the farmyard.