A WOMAN has described how several horses were rescued from their stables as a massive blaze ripped through an adjoining barn on Tuesday night.

Fire crews, who were alerted to the fire Barrass Hill Farm, Plawsworth Road, Sacriston, at about 8pm, managed to prevent the flames spreading to the stables and a nearby house.

The blaze, which could be seen for miles around and involved 1,500 tonnes of hay and straw in two barns, left farmer Robin Scott devastated at the loss of a year’s work.

The Northern Echo:

The fire as it took hold last night. Picture: Aaron O'Roarty

Julie Johnson, 47, who lives on the farm, said: “I was ironing in the house when I heard my dogs barking uncontrollably. A woman came to the house and said 'your barn’s on fire'.

“I ran out to check and there was a strip all away along the bottom on the barn on fire.

“By the time I got to the corner the whole lot was up in flames.

“The priority was to get the horses out of their stables. I asked the woman who had alerted me if she was scared of horses and she told me 'no' she had some as well.

“She grabbed two horses and I grabbed two and got them out. There were people coming from all over to help.”

Ten horses were saved.

Mrs Johnson added: "When the firefighters arrived they told us to get our possessions out of house. We were taking pictures off walls, because you can’t replace those.

"They managed to prevent the spread of the fire from the barns and we were later able to return to our house."

The Northern Echo:

One of the horses today grazing as the barn still blazes. Picture: Gavin Engelbrecht

“The horses are all in their paddocks this morning. They are grazing quite happily. They are oblivious to what is going on.

Farmer Robin Scott said: “I am absolutely devastated.

“We had a fire in January which we still haven’t pulled round from. And now we have had this one. This is what we have worked all year for. We have lost it all.”

Mike Burdon, watch manager for the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said: “ “Three fire crews from Durham, one from High Handenhold and one from Consett, as well as an Environmental Protection Unit were called to the unit just before 8pm.

“The number of crews was reduced to four at 10pm. Our (remaining) crew has come on this morning to damp it down and ensure it does not spread again."

The cause of the fire is being investigated. At 3.30pm the fire service tweeted: "The fire involving hay and straw at Sacriston will be burning for the next few days but there is no risk to public health."