Large barn fire in Marthall, near Knutsford

22/09/2020 - 12:52

Marthall Lane, Marthall, near Knutsford

Twenty-seven fire engines, including relief crews, attended - one from Wilmslow, one from Lymm, two from Macclesfield, one from Knutsford, one from Middlewich, one from Winsford, one from Ellesmere Port, one from Frodsham, two from Crewe, one from Sandbach, one from Bollington, one from Alsager, one from Birchwood, one from Audlem, one from Poynton, one from Nantwich, one from Stockton Heath, two from Penketh, one from Runcorn, two from Northwich, one from Congleton, one from Tarporley and one from Manchester - as did a high volume pump and two prime movers from Powey Lane and a welfare unit from Northwich


Large barn fire in Marthall, near KnutsfordShortly before 1pm on Tuesday 22 September firefighters were called to reports of a fire involving a large barn at a secluded farm in Marthall Lane, Marthall, near Knutsford.

On arrival the crews discovered that the steel-framed barn, measuring approximately 40 metres by 28 metres and containing a large quantity of hale bales stacked from the ground to the roof space, was well alight.

The fire involved at least 8,000 hay bales.

Five fire engines were sent to the farm.

Firefighters began using a hose reel jet and a 45mm main jet to create a fire break to protect other barns nearby.

A farmer helped with this by using farm machinery to move hay bales.

A clear fire break was established between barns and firefighters set up a water supply to get enough water to the area.

They then began to use a main jet to deal with the fire from a safe distance whilst other buildings were protected with cooling jets.

A high volume pump was set up to deal with the fire more effectively and a temporary road closure was put in place in both directions of Marthall Lane.

Farm machinery was used to move unaffected hay bales away from the fire.

Three branch holders were used from the high volume pump to create a water curtain to stop the fire from spreading to other barns and to prevent them from sustaining heat damage from the flames.

Due to the extent of the fire and the fact that it was contained to the barn, a decision was taken, with the support of the Environment Agency, to allow the affected hay to burn off.

Three ground monitors were set up and with the fire under control relief crews monitored it throughout the night.

Temperatures were monitored with a thermal imaging camera.

The following day, Wednesday, two fire engines were in attendance and four ground monitors were in use.

A farmer sourced a mechanical digger, which was used to remove hay bales from a shed and from the back of the barn. The hay was damped down by firefighters during this process.

Firefighters also used the ground monitors to tackle the fire from behind a safety cordon.

In the evening two main jets were used to damp down the area to make it safe.

This was later reduced to one main jet.

Crews monitored the barn throughout the night.

The following day, Thursday, a ground monitor and three main jets were used.

Farm machinery was used during the day to rake out and turn over hay to speed up the controlled burning process.

Embers were extinguished with main jets and the barn was monitored throughout the night, with regular 360-degree inspections regularly carried out.

The following day, Friday, two fire engines remained in attendance until 5.30pm. From that point only one fire engine was needed at the farm. D

During the day farming machinery was used to remove hay from the barn.

Firefighters wearing respirators turned over hay and damping it down using two main jets.

During the evening and overnight firefighters monitored the remaining hay and the surround area of the barn.

The following day, Saturday, firefighters conducted a 360-degree inspection of the affected area, looking for hotspots to make safe. 

An excavation of haylage then took place. This was carried out by a digger and an external contractor.

Firefighters were on hand to damp down the area being excavated to make it safe.

Once the excavation work had for the day firefighters monitored the scene. They did so throughout the evening and overnight.

Regular 360-degree inspections of the barn and surrounding barns were carried out.

On the Sunday firefighters used two main jets to damp down hotspots.

A farmer cleared hay from the barn using a digger.

Hay was spread and scattered by the farmer.

Once the digging out process had ceased, the scattered hay was allowed to burn down under the supervision of firefighters.

A ground monitor was used to protect nearby silage.

On the Monday a ground monitor continued to be used to prevent fire from spreading.

Firefighters monitored hotspots and farm machinery was used to remove hay from the shed.

Overnight firefighters monitored the smouldering contents of the barn area.

Farm machinery was also used on the Tuesday.

Diggers moved hay away from the affected area.

Farm machinery was later used to spread burning materials.

Firefighters used two main jets and two hose reel jets to damp down hay and hotspots.

The following morning, on Wednesday 30 September, firefighters deemed the fire to be fully out and the farm to be safe following a thorough inspection.

The road was reopened and firefighters left the farm.

Firefighters were in attendance for nearly eight days. 

An investigation into the cause of the fire has been completed.

It is believed that the fire was started accidentally.

The most likely cause was sparks/embers from a diesel particulate filter on a passing farm vehicle.

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Last updated: Thursday 01 October 2020

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Large barn fire in Marthall, near Knutsford