Barn destroyed by fire

PUBLISHED: 17:17 15 January 2008 | UPDATED: 18:00 31 May 2010

The destroyed barn

The destroyed barn

EXPLODING gas cylinders and a large tank of flammable diesel made extinguishing a blaze in Clavering a dangerous task for firefighters on Friday. A barn in Brices Yard, Butts Green, caught fire at around 7.15pm on Friday evening, leading to call-outs for

During the blaze

EXPLODING gas cylinders and a large tank of flammable diesel made extinguishing a blaze in Clavering a dangerous task for firefighters on Friday.

A barn in Brices Yard, Butts Green, caught fire at around 7.15pm on Friday evening, leading to call-outs for fire crews from Saffron Walden, Stansted, Newport and later Harlow and Chelmsford.

Neil Byford, Newport station officer, said: "When we arrived the barn, which had been converted into offices, workshops and storage space, was 100 per cent well alight.

"Gas cylinders inside exploded just as we got there, blowing out what was left of the roof, and it was obvious the building was lost. It was an inferno.

"We concentrated our efforts on trying to save an office that took up about one-third of the barn space, but at the same time we had to be wary of more gas cylinders and try to keep a tank full of diesel cool to prevent it going up as well."

The barn that was destroyed was being rented by N.A. Rouse Builders Ltd. Despite losing much of his property, managing director Nigel Rouse was determined not to let the fire disrupt his business and thanked the fire service for their efforts to save the building.

"It was pretty horrendous," he said, "something you really don't want to see. It's not nice to be sitting in the pub for a quiet pint on a Friday night and have your wife call you and tell you your unit's on fire, but life goes on.

"Nobody was hurt, that is definitely the main thing. Material things can be replaced, but people can't.

"Everyone around me has been unbelievable - I've had fantastic support from my friends, family and colleagues. My neighbours Pelham Structures have very kindly put me up, so we were able to begin trading again at 7am on Monday.

"I'm very grateful to the fire service for doing what they could, especially for saving my computer and other important files."

Mr Byford said that had it not been for the quality of the office structure, built within the barn, they would have been unable to salvage anything.

He said: "This just goes to show the benefits of having an office built correctly, to proper fire regulations. A fire door was up against intense heat for 90 minutes, but the blaze never penetrated it because the office was so well-built."

Newport fire crew returned to the scene the following morning to check for hotspots and to ensure the fire was fully extinguished.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service are investigating the cause of the fire, but it is not believed to have been deliberate.

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