9,000-tonne straw stack destroyed in Fenland after lightning strike

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- Credit: Archant

NINE thousand tonnes of straw was destroyed today when it was struck by lightning in a storm.

Firefighters from across Cambridgeshire were called to the blaze in Langwood Fen, Chatteris, at 12.40pm.

Crews used two light portable pumps, pumping water from a nearby open water source through five jets, one hose reel and four ground monitors (a hose reel fixed to the ground) to extinguish the fire.

Crews also created a fire break to stop the fire from spreading to more than 40 acres of standing crops.

A fire service spokesman said: “The cause of the fire is believed to be due to a lightning strike.”


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The strike came after a very busy night for firefighters which saw crews called to 12 incidents related to lightning strikes.

One crew from Wisbech was called to an electricity cable arching on the A47 Wisbech bypass in Wisbech at 7am on Tuesday morning.

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Firefighters arrived and stood by to ensure the scene was safe until an electricity engineer was able to attend.

They returned to their fire station by 8.45am.

Huntingdonshire bore the brunt of the overnight lightning strikes, with eight direct hits.

Among the places to be struck in Huntingdonshire was an eco-built house in Boxworth. As many as 40 firefighters from across Cambridgeshire were called at its height.

The blaze affected all three floors of the home. At one point crews entered the house to stop it from spreading. The blaze took some eight hours to extinguish.

Station Commander Callum Faint said: “The construction of this eco-built house helped us considerably at this incident and ultimately prevented the entire house being engulfed by a fire.

“There was a large volume of insulation in the walls and after the lightning bolt struck, heat got into the walls and the insulation has kept it all in there and prevented it from spreading through the house.

“We had to cut holes to let the heat out but there has been very minimal fire damage.

“Most importantly, this family had a correctly fitted, working smoke alarm which woke them up and alerted them to the fire so they could get out and stay safe.”

Three lightning strikes took place in South Cambridgeshire and one took place in Cambridge.

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