Firefighters saved hundreds of pigs and piglets after battling through the night to tackle a huge barn blaze on a farm near Bedale in North Yorkshire.

Andrew Ashford said the farm is devastated after fire tore through four barns at the family business in Carthorpe, but he praised the fire brigade for their work in saving the animals.

The alarm was first raised around 9.40pm on Monday, and as the scale of the fire became clear nearly 40 firefighters were called in with eight engines. Crews were still at the farm ten hours later continuing to damp down to ensure the fire did not start up again.

The Northern Echo: 40 firefighters battled through the night to stop a fire spreading to a pig unit at Carthorpe,

They brought in specialist power hoses to help them stop the blaze spreading between four connected barns covering an area 280 feet by 150 feet and reaching a building housing pigs and piglets. With the help of neighbours and friends they managed to stop the fire spreading to the pigs.

The farm is run by Ashford Brothers.

Mr Ashford said: “It has been devastating for the farm, but the fire brigade did a good job and we can’t thank friends and neighbours enough who also came to help. The fire brigade got here just in time to dowse down the pig pens and the important things is that nobody was hurt and the animals are okay.”

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Flames could be seen for miles around as the blaze took hold, destroying nearly 600 tonnes of straw. It is understood Mr Ashford’s parents set up the farm over 50 years ago. It now has 200 pigs with piglets and 1,400 head of cattle.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it received a large number of calls raising the alarm from 9.40pm onwards on Monday (September 25).

The Northern Echo: The fire in barns at Carthorpe could be seen from miles around

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: "Due to the number of calls and information given Fire Control decided to mobilise over and above the normal attendance of two appliances and after more reports stating there was more than one barn on fire a total of four appliances were initially mobilised.

"On arrival the first crew requested a total of eight appliances to attend. This was also supplemented by a water bowser from Boroughbridge and a high volume pump from Richmond.

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"The crews from Hambleton and Harrogate districts worked together to tackle the large fire consisting of four connected barns measuring approximately 80m by 50m. The fire affected approximately 600 tonnes of straw and the crews worked to cool a neighbouring barn with hose reel jets, which contained piglets.

"Once the high volume pump was in place this allowed the reduction of appliances and at 2.40am it was scaled back to three appliances from Masham, Ripon and Bedale.

"All sows and piglets were confirmed saved from the fire."

Mr Ashford said they don’t know how the fire started, investigations are ongoing to try and find out.