Farm boss praises swift response by fire crews after blaze destroys huge onion store

FIRE crews were called today to help tackle a blaze at a farm in Chatteris which destroyed a store containing 1,200 tonnes of onions.

FIRE crews were called to help tackle a blaze at a farm in Chatteris which destroyed a store containing 1,200 tonnes of onions.

The fire was discovered shortly before 9am today by farm worker, Terry Stokes, at Colne Fen Farm.

Crews from Chatteris were joined by six other engines from nearby March, Chatteris, St Neots and Ramsey and brought the fire under control by midday.

Six pumps were called to the Somersham Road farm which belongs to A & E G Heading. Fire fighters also managed to stop the fire spreading to nearby gas cylinders and an adjacent store containing 2,000 tonnes of wheat.

Company director Marc Heading praised the quick response of the fire service. He said: "The fire service was very swift in its response and I am very thankful that it hasn't spread. If it had happened at 9pm or the wind had been in a different direction it would have been a very different story."

Harry Edge, Incident Commander said: "When we arrived at the incident we discovered a large corrugated metal building - measuring about 60 metres by 20 metres - which was well alight. The building contained farm machinery, straw and a large quantity of onions.

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"Next to the building are two large propane gas cylinders, which are fixed to the ground, and another building which is used to store grain. The fire was in real danger of spreading to the gas cylinders and also to the adjacent building.

"Crews used jets to create a curtain of water which prevented the fire from spreading to these structures.

"They also used hose reels to fight the fire and have succeeded in getting the fire under control.

A spokesman for the fire service said the cause of the blaze was unknown and investigators would start work as soon as practical.

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