A farmer’s son dashed inside a burning barn last night to rescue a combine harvester worth thousands of pounds before it was engulfed in flames.
Patricia Fraser looked on in terror as her son Michael entered the burning building at Culnaha Farm in Easter Ross to save the piece of machinery from the blaze.
Last night Ms Fraser said the building was burned “completely to the ground” along with 200 hay bales inside and a hay bailer.
She could only estimate the cost of the damage to be “thousands of pounds”.
The 66-year-old was in her kitchen when she heard the crackling of metal on the roof and looked out the window to see huge flames rising from the barn and immediately called 999.
Ms Fraser, who has run the arable farm near Nigg with her family for 16 years, said: “My son Michael managed to drive the combine out. Firefighters were hosing the area down around the machinery to allow him to get it out.
“He just went straight in there. I was frightened when he went in but the area around it was well hosed down, although it must have been pretty hot.
“I’ve just been shaking all night. I just got a big fright when I looked out of the window and went out to see if there was anyone about and came back in and called 999.
“I then phoned my son to tell him. He lives just along the road from me. It was a relief to get the combine out of the barn.
“The straw went up in flames really quickly, but the fire service did a good job in dealing with the fire.”
Ms Fraser added that it was unclear how the fire started.
Firefighters were still at the barn at about 9pm last night while the straw burned out. Ms Fraser said they would likely be there for several more hours.
Three fire appliances – one each from Invergordon, Tain and Dornoch – were called to the blaze along with a water carrier from Inverness following the 999 call at about 5.25pm.
A fire service spokeswoman said that crews asked Scottish Water to boost the water supply in the area, such was the scale of the fire.
Neighbour John Waring lives opposite the farm and went up after noticing the flames to help fire crews locate the nearest fire hydrant to tap into the water supply.
He said: “It was fully ablaze in seconds really. It was pretty strong and the flames were very high at one stage, I would say about twice as high as the barn itself.”