A FARMER’S family battled to save their home and business after suspected arsonists sparked a massive barn fire which tore through 600 bales of straw.
Paul and Tricia Barass, their 16-year-old son Isaac, and his 72-year-old grandmother Gwynn, rushed to save valuable equipment and stop the fire spreading to fuel tanks after the blaze started at Sycamore Farm, Whitely Lane, Grenoside.
Seven fire crews then spent more than 12 hours tackling the massive blaze, which they believe may have been started by youths who were found in the barn earlier in the evening.
Tricia, aged 45, told The Star: “Every summer we have problems with kids in the hay barn. It is downright dangerous.”
Tricia and her husband Paul, 47, had been out for the evening when Paul’s father Peter, 75, spotted some youngsters in the barn.
When he told them to leave they taunted him, calling out: “Go back inside, granddad.”
Tricia said: “He is not well, and is very upset.
“When we got home we noticed nothing wrong, but 15 or 20 minutes later there was a massive inferno.
“We just had to save what we could.”
Paul dragged equipment away from the blazing barn, with the plastic already blistering because of the intense heat, while Gwynn and Isaac damped down a neighbouring barn containing fuel.
Fire crews from Elm Lane, Tankersley, Rivelin, Central and Darnall stations started to arrive at the scene shortly after 11.10pm on Monday.
But they faced problems getting water to the fire.
Station manager Andy Cloke, of South Yorkshire’s fire safety support department, said: “We had to stretch hoses around 400 yards to the nearest good water hydrant, which was a bit of a logistical feat.
“We believe there had been kids in the barn earlier on, who had been shooed away.
“The cause of the fire was not a natural one - and because of the circumstances we believe it was a case of arson.”
Firefighters had trouble reaching the cause of the blaze, which was deep seated among piles of hay and straw.
Paul Hayes, who was cycling past and spotted the raging inferno, said: “It illuminated the whole sky and was visible for miles around.”
Police are investigating.