AROUND 25 animals have died in a “significant” barn fire in Halifax, which started just minutes after firefighters walked out on strike.
Five fire crews with 25 firefighters are in attendance at the blaze, in Moor End Road, Mount Tabor.
The cause of the fire is being investigated, but early indications by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service believe that cause to be accidental.
The exact number and the types of animals killed, are still to be confirmed. Two farmers suffered minor smoke inhalation and were treated by paramedics at the scene. One of them also has some minor burns to his hand.
Fire crews were called to the hay barn, which also contained a number of compressed gas cylinders, at 10.15am, shortly after a period of strike action by members of the Fire Brigades Union began at 10am.
The five engines were crewed with a combination of non-striking fully qualified officers and Community Response Operatives (CROs). A number of Specialist Fire Officers are also in attendance.
The CROs had undergone three weeks training in basic fire and rescue response and work under the supervision of Senior Fire Officers at all times.
Assistant chief fire officer Dave Walton said: “The fire is now under control but may burn for a prolonged period of time. We are currently liaising with Yorkshire Water as the site is in a remote location and access to water supplies is limited.
“Crews continue to work hard to prevent the fire from spreading beyond the affected building to other farm buildings.”
Today’s strike action is the 15th walk out by union members in row over Government proposals to change pensions and retirement age.