Fire chiefs slam arsonists after 2,500 tonnes of straw at Mepal set alight as crews from Ely, Chatteris and Cottenham battle to contain blaze

PUBLISHED: 18:49 06 June 2019

Fire crews are at the scene of two straw stacks fires near the former Mepal Outdoor Centre off the A142. Both fires are thought to have been deliberate. Picture; D HUMPHREY

Fire crews are at the scene of two straw stacks fires near the former Mepal Outdoor Centre off the A142. Both fires are thought to have been deliberate. Picture; D HUMPHREY

Archant

Fire chiefs hit at arsonists who deliberately targeted stacks involving 2,500 tonnes of straw that prevented them from attending other emergencies.

Fire crews are at the scene of two straw stacks fires near the former Mepal Outdoor Centre off the A142. Both fires are thought to have been deliberate. Picture; D HUMPHREY Fire crews are at the scene of two straw stacks fires near the former Mepal Outdoor Centre off the A142. Both fires are thought to have been deliberate. Picture; D HUMPHREY

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue said: "This large stack fire, that was started deliberately, has had crews at the scene tackling it since the early hours of the morning, preventing them from being available to attend other emergencies".

The fire, on Blockmoor Drove near Mepal, started at 2.15am on Thursday (June 6) and involved around 2,500 tonnes of straw.

One crew from Chatteris initially attended and found a fire involving two large stacks of bailed straw well alight that was spreading to a third stack.

Firefighters worked throughout the night, with crews from Cottenham and Ely taking over duties working with the farmer to contain the fire and stop it from spreading further.

Fire crews are at the scene of two straw stacks fires near the former Mepal Outdoor Centre off the A142. Both fires are thought to have been deliberate. Picture; D HUMPHREY Fire crews are at the scene of two straw stacks fires near the former Mepal Outdoor Centre off the A142. Both fires are thought to have been deliberate. Picture; D HUMPHREY

Station commander Pete Jones, arson liaison officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Fires started deliberately like this pose significant issues for us. Not only do they present a risk to our crews, like any fire, but the crews committed here are not available to respond to other emergencies.

"This is very frustrating as fires like this are avoidable and could delay our response to another emergency.

"Arson is a serious crime and can have severe consequences for those that start a fire, no matter how big or how small it is. Not only this, but any fire presents significant risks for anyone around the area if it gets out of hand."

If anyone has any information about this or any other deliberate fire, please contact the police by visiting www.cambs.police.uk to submit an online report or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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