Electrical fault thought to be cause of farm fire that killed 246 pigs

The cause of the fire is believed to be an electrical fault
The cause of the fire is believed to be an electrical fault

A fire that ripped through a North Yorkshire farm killing over two-hundred pigs on the weekend is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault.

Fire crews from across North Yorkshire and welfare unit from Thirsk were called to the barn fire on Saturday (March 24) in Normanby, near Pickering.

The building was totally destroyed by the fire, and 246 piglets and sows perished in the blaze.

Crews used main jets, breathing apparatus, hose reels and portable pumps to extinguish the fire.

A number of sows and piglets were rescued. The cause of the fire is believed to be an electrical fault.

A sharp rise in farm fires has prompted NFU Mutual to call for farmers to check their fire prevention and evacuation procedures.

NFU Mutual’s claims statistics reveal that the cost of farm fire claims rose by an alarming 26% to £44m in 2016.

The most common cause of farm fires was electrical faults, which were responsible for almost half of 2016 fire claims, according to the insurer. Arson was the next most common cause.

Last year, a farm blaze killed around 16,000 chickens at a poultry barn in Carlisle, Cumbria. In 2016, a fire killed around 750 pigs in Bormham, Wiltshire.

NFU Mutual Farm Fire checklist

Fire Prevention:

• Ensure there are sufficient fire extinguishers for the size of buildings and that materials stored are inspected and regularly maintained

• Ensure staff and adult family members know the location of fire extinguishers and how to use them

• Reduce the risk of arson by fencing-off straw stacks and farm buildings

• Store hay and straw at least 10m from other buildings

• Put in place an evacuation plan for staff and livestock

• Store petrol, diesel and other fuels in secure areas

• Schedule regular electrical safety checks

• Invite your local fire and rescue service to visit to check water supplies and access routes

If a fire breaks out:

• Call the Fire and Rescue Service without delay

• If possible, send someone to the farm entrance to direct the Fire and Rescue Service to the fire to help save time

• Prepare to evacuate livestock should the fire spread

• Prepare to use your farm machinery to assist the Fire and Rescue Service