FIRE service bosses are calling on farmers to be extra vigilant after a fortnight in which Somerset farms have been hit by five fires – three of which are being treated as arson.
While not currently thought to be linked, investigations continue into suspected arsons at:
- Holwell Lane, Cheddar (Saturday, February 13)
- Langaller Farm, Creech St Michael (Friday, February 19)
- Bell Lane, Cossington (Sunday, February 21)
Two further barn fires, at Stretcholt, Bridgwater, on Sunday, February 21 and Brendon Hill, Watchet, Tuesday, February 23 are not thought to be suspicious.
Group Commander Chris Pratt, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This recent spate of fires in agricultural buildings around Somerset is concerning.
“Barn fires can quickly escalate and spread to other nearby buildings, increasing the risk to life for not only animals, but people too.
“We are calling on farmers and farm managers to act with vigilance at the moment to try to reduce these fires happening. We want to prevent any further fires before someone is seriously hurt.
“Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are working alongside our colleagues at Avon and Somerset Police and investigations into these incidents are ongoing.
“Anyone with information that could assist police with their investigations should call 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”
Farmers are being give the following advice:
- Check fencing security, and repair or replace damaged fencing or gates.
- Install intruder sensors and security lighting.
- Maintain security of outbuildings.
- Keep firefighting equipment in good order.
- Keep escape routes clear at all times and keep all areas free from rubbish, oily cloths and other combustible materials.
- Ensure that your family and employees know what to do in the event of a fire. Make sure everyone knows where the nearest phone is. Carry a mobile phone at all times, especially if working alone.
- Keep firefighting equipment in good working order and ensure it is serviced regularly. Ensure it can be accessed easily at all times and that everyone is aware where it is located.
- Make sure that the entrance to your farm is clearly signposted and keep all access routes clear for emergency vehicles.
A spokesperson added: “We also recommend that you have an animal evacuation plan for your livestock in the event of a fire.”
More fire safety advice is available at: https://www.dsfire.gov.uk/index.cfm?siteCategoryId=1