Family's devastation at losing farm following major fire

A fund-raising page has been set-up to help a '˜devastated' family who have lost their Northumberland farm as a result of a barn blaze.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 12:24 pm
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 12:38 pm
Damage caused by the fire at Whinney Hill Farm, Choppington. The picture was posted on a Burkinshaw family social media appeal for help.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service was called to the fire at Whinney Hill Farm, Choppington, at 6.15pm last night to find a 40m-by-40m barn well alight.

The fire had spread to three adjacent, larger barns.

It was scaled back through the night and the fire service currently has one appliance in attendance.

The Burkinshaw family who run the farm managed to get their animals to safety in time, but they could not prevent extensive damage to the buildings and machinery.

Sarah Burkinshaw said: “We’re devastated that we’ve lost our farm.

“Once we were aware of the fire, our main priority was to get the cattle to safety and thankfully, we managed to do this just in time before the fire spread.

“We’ve already had a lot of support from the local community and we’re grateful for the donations.

“The money will help buy fodder for the animals as supplies were low due to the summer heatwave.”

The GoFundMe page that was set-up last night by Faye Scantlebury – www.gofundme.com/help-the-burkinshaws-rebuild-their-farm – aims to raise £2,000 and more than £700 has already been donated.

She said on the page: ‘They are a local family that will go out of their way to help others, but now it’s our turn to help them.

‘Let’s see the community pull together in such a horrible situation.’

Five fire appliances attended the scene last night, along with two officers, and a total of 22 fire service personnel. Two jets and two hose-reels were used control the blaze and protect surrounding properties.

A Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “The fire was scaled back through the night and we currently have one appliance in attendance, from Pegswood Fire Station.

“Assessments are being made to ascertain whether to leave the site and make re-inspections, or to maintain a constant presence.

“The scope of the damage is to 20,000 cubic metres of straw and there were also three agricultural vehicles destroyed.

“No animals were harmed in the fire.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “At around 6.25pm yesterday, police received a report of a fire at a farm in Choppington.

“Officers attended the scene to assist the fire service whilst its personnel worked to extinguish the fire.

“A cordon was put in place whilst emergency services worked.

“An investigation into the circumstances around the fire is on-going.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact officers via 101 – quote reference number 849 16/12/18 – or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.