UPDATE: Multiple livestock deaths in Bradworthy barn fire
A pony, three lambs and a calf were killed in a large barn fire just outside Bradworthy yesterday.
Four fire engines were sent to the scene at East Greadon Farm at around 1pm when the blaze started.
The fire had started to spread to a nearby building five metres away when crews arrived.
A farm worker had bravely entered the barn to lead some calves which were inside to safety and protect them from the heat and smoke.
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The man suffered from smoke inhalation and was airlifted to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital by the North Devon air ambulance, which is based at Eaglescott Airfield.
Group Commander Neil Blackburn attended the scene and said by the time he got there the fire had begun to melt the fascia board of the neighbouring property.
"We managed to prevent the fire spreading to the house," he said. "There was also quite a strong wind which would normally work against us but on this occasion it helped.
"We needed to contain the fire to stop it from spreading but also let it burn."
He also said that because the material burning was straw it was better to allow it to burn right down as it could continue smouldering for weeks if treated with water.
He said: "The trouble is if we started to put it out it will use gallons and gallons of water and the run off can be toxic. Although it is not ideal because there will be airborne pollution."
Mr Blackburn said there were initial concerns about firefighters tackling the blaze as the roof of the nearby property contained cement asbestos.
Incident commander Colin Mills stayed at the scene until 7pm last night.
He said the cause of the fire is believed to be a heat lamp which was being used in the barn to keep the livestock warm.
Two crews from Bude attended the blaze along with one from Hartland and Holsworthy. An Ilfracombe crew also attended along with a water carrier from Barnstaple.