Firefighters battle to save pigs from inferno

The scene of a fire at a farm on Doncaster Road, Ardsley, Barnsley
The scene of a fire at a farm on Doncaster Road, Ardsley, Barnsley
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Hundreds of pigs had to be rescued after a huge blaze broke out at a South Yorkshire farm.

Firefighters from across Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster were alerted to a blaze at Wood Laithes Farm, Doncaster Road, Ardsley, Barnsley, early yesterday and found bales of straw and manure engulfed in flames.

The fire had spread to the roof of a pigsty containing 500 pigs and piglets and there were fears other neighbouring sties would go up in flames.

The farmer who owns the piggery was joined by his staff and neighbouring farm workers to evacuate the burning building and other sties at risk.

Station manager Steve Green, who oversaw the firefighting operation, said some pigs died but the majority were saved.

He said the fire started in a pile of 1,600 straw bales and manure stored near to a large pigsty.

It spread to the roof but firefighters were able to prevent the flames engulfing the building and contained it to the straw.

They had to train water jets on surrounding buildings to stop them getting too hot and catching fire.

Firefighters battled all day yesterday to extinguish the flames and expected to be there today.

They advised local residents to keep their doors and windows closed as a safety precaution because of the amount of smoke .

At the height of the blaze there were nine fire engines and around 50 firefighters at the scene, with many of them ferrying water to the farm because of difficulties accessing a good supply.

Steve Green said: “When crews arrived there were a large number of hay bales, 1,600, on fire adjacent to a pigsty containing more than 500 pigs and piglets.

“The fire had started to spread to the building and reached the roof, destroying some livestock.

“Firefighters from Barnsley, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster were involved in fighting the fire and managed to contain and prevent it from spreading to other neighbouring buildings which also had livestock in them.

“The farm owner with staff and support from other neighbouring farms worked together to move the livestock away from the fire to protect as many as possible.”

The cause of the blaze is not yet known. An investigation is to be launched once it is extinguished.