Bacon saved as pig farm back on track

A WALSHFORD farm is up and running again after recent fire scare which put the lives of 240 pigs at risk.

Forensic scientists from Leeds have handed a report to the loss adjusters who are looking into where the power came into the building, the electricity metre and the distribution board.

The father and son farming team at Rufford Farm praised the quick response of their staff and the fire brigade claiming they “saved the bacon” of their pigs when the fire broke out on February 16.

Bob Newby had returned to his house to make a cup of tea at 2am after checking on the lambing progress of his flock of pedigree Texel sheep.

As Bob clicked the kettle on the lights in the house went out.

He said: “The house’s electric relay has always been a bit touchy so I went to the fuse box and pressed the relay re-set button. The lights came on again but went out straight away.”

Looking through his kitchen window, Bob could see what appeared to be a light on in the staff room at the end of his piggery.

He said: “I walked across to find that the light was in fact a fire that had just started in the fuse box and electric meter area next to the staff room and laboratory at the end of the farrowing house.”

Bob immediately ran to his son Simon’s house nearby and awoke him before returning to fight the fire with dry powder extinguishers while Simon phoned the fire brigade as he was getting dressed.

Five fire engines from Wetherby, Knaresborough, Harrogate, Tadcaster and North East Leeds, attended the scene. Fire men brought a thermal imaging camera which showed inside the building that the roof trusses were extremely hot and about to burst into flames – so much so that all the power cables in the roof were burnt and melted.

Simon said: “The fire brigade was absolutely fantastic. They were actually at the farm and ready for action within 15 minutes of the 999 call.

“The prompt action of all concerned, including our employees Andrew Dermody and Peter Robinson, the pig manager, and Richard Ford and Ian Longbottom saved the bacon of the 240 pigs in the adjoining farrowing house.”

Simon added that the incredibly fast action of Steven Dresser, the farm’s electrical contractor from Thirsk, was also commendable.

The officer in charge praised Bob and Simon’s timely action with the dry power fire extinguisher which stemmed the fire until the brigade arrived.

A fire man, who attended the scene, said: “Everything went very well and we were grateful to both Jennifer Newby and Marjorie Newby, who kept us very well fed with bacon sandwiches and coffee.”