Farmer distressed after fire kills cattle

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-01-2012: Seven cattle have died during a blaze at farm in Banbridge, Co Down Northern Ireland.'The fire sparked in a barn at the property on the Bann Road early on Tuesday, and the Fire and Rescue Service responded to a call at around 2.30am.'Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-01-2012: Seven cattle have died during a blaze at farm in Banbridge, Co Down Northern Ireland.'The fire sparked in a barn at the property on the Bann Road early on Tuesday, and the Fire and Rescue Service responded to a call at around 2.30am.'Picture By: Arthur Allison.

THE family of a farmer who lost seven cattle in an early morning blaze last week have thanked the passers-by who reported the fire, saying things could have been much worse if it wasn’t for their quick reaction.

A barn on Jim Quail’s Bannview Road farm was overcome with flames in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The barn was destroyed and a herd of seven heifers were killed, despite the best efforts of 35 firefighters over eight hours.

A tractor and trailer were also destroyed when the barn’s roof collapsed. The fire service sent six trucks, a water tanker and four jets to douse the flames.

Jim’s son Joe paid tribute to the swift action taken by the police and fire service, who headed straight to the scene when the incident was reported. He also expressed gratitude to unknown passers-by who reported the fire - which NIFRS confirmed had started accidentally - after spotting it from the carriageway.

The Banbridge businessman said, “We would like to thank the police and the firefighters who were here so promptly. I live two minutes down the road and came as soon as I heard and the authorities were already there doing their best to contain the fire.

“They reacted very quickly and, thankfully, were able to stop any further damage being caused.”

Mr Quail said his father was understandably upset by what happened. “It is distressing to lose any animal. But things could have been much worse and we are grateful for all the help and support we received at the time and since.”

The Quail family said they have been overwhelmed by the support from friends, neighbours and the wider farming community during the past week.

Local councillor Junior McCrum offered his sympathies to the family on the loss of livestock and equipment from the farm.

“Farming is a difficult enough occupation these days, so to lose livestock is particularly sad,” said Mr McCrum. “And in this economic climate things are even more tough. I was sorry to hear of the incident.”