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Stable owners urged to check fire precautions

Stable owners have been urged to check their fire safety precautions after one brigade in Britain attended two barn blazes on one road within two days.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters were called to two unlinked stable fires.

Neither blaze caused harm to people or horses, but did result in the destruction of buildings and loss of horse feed and bedding materials.

The service has since advised owners, proprietors and livery customers to check that adequate fire safety measures are in place at their yards.

Group Manager Bob Rea, of the brigade's specialist large animal rescue unit, who is also a keen horseman, said: "These incidents are definitely not linked but have put the risk of fire in the stable environment high on our agenda."

One blaze was considered suspicious, while the second resulted from sparks from a bonfire, which was being carefully supervised.

Embers blew on to a nearby storage building containing hay and straw and quickly spread.

"Thank goodness that no-one was injured and that no horses were hurt on these occasions.

"We are asking all owners and users of equestrian premises to have a thorough check to ensure that their premises are as secure as possible and that in the event of fire breaking out, that there are suitable provisions for evacuating staff and horses as quickly and safely as possible.

"Many stables and associated buildings are made of timber and much of what is used or kept there - hay, straw, shavings, grain and feed, rugs - is highly combustible.

"Many yards store diesel for vehicles and most have electricity supplied to boxes and buildings and it is vital that all yards, whether large or small, have up to date fire safety and evacuation plans in place.

For a safety checklist, visit:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/firesafetyanimal