Nutwell Court fire caused by haystack
An explosive fire which destroyed a barn in Lympstone was caused by a self-heating haystack, it has been revealed.
Fire crews from eight stations battled the blaze at Nutwell Court, which saw gas canisters and a fuel tank explode.
Following an investigation, the fire service has concluded that the fire was caused by a haystack stored in the barn, which heated up and caught fire.
No one was injured in the blaze, and the fire service has ruled out the fire being started deliberately.
Haystack fires are a familiar hazard for farmers, and can be caused by harvesting hay when it is too wet.
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A spokesperson for the National Farmers Union said: “If hay is too wet when baled, it can ‘sweat’ in storage, which produces heat. If internal stack temperatures rise above 65 degrees Celsius, hay is more at risk of catching alight.”
The NFU says that farmers can reduce the risk of fire by making sure hay is not too wet or green when it is baled.
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They are also advised to arrange stacks with small bales on the inside and larger bays on the outside, ensuring the stack is well ventilated, and to regularly check the stack’s temperature when it is stored.