Animals saved from barn blaze

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TWO guard dogs and chickens were saved by firefighters who tackled a barn blaze in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Two Hemel Hempstead fire engines, one from Berkhamsted and another from Kings Langley rushed to the scene in Piccotts End Lane, Hemel Hempstead, at around 4.45am.

To reach the blaze they had to race across a field from Piccotts End Road, as the country lane was too narrow for their vehicles.

Hemel Hempstead crew commander Mark Mannell said: “About 50 per cent of the barn went up - it was a fairly big fire.

“It was fairly smoky in there, but the animals all survived. There were a couple of horses nearby who looked fairly scared - one in a neighbouring field - but they were OK too.”

Firefighters had found two gas cylinders in the barn - but discovered they were safe, as their caps had been removed so there was no pressure build-up.

The barn, which was being used as a storage depot, also contained wood, scrap metal containers and plastic bins containing chicken feed.

Firefighters had put the flames out by 5.15am - but stayed at the scene until 8am as some of the barn’s beams were still hot and smoky.

Mr Mannell said they needed to make sure the fire was completely out.

Firefighters later said the blaze was accidental and caused by faulty electrics.