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Farmer towed burning vehicle away from barn

Firefighters from Turriff battled the combine blaze
Firefighters from Turriff battled the combine blaze

A Moray farmer’s quick thinking averted potential disaster yesterday after an agricultural vehicle caught fire.

John Milne was working at his son John’s farm Little Cantly, at Grange, near Keith when a telescopic handler went up in flames.

The vehicle was burning right next door to a large barn containing 150 bales of straw.

However, Mr Milne managed it to tow the stricken vehicle away from the farm building before the flames could spread any further.

Mr Milne, whose own farm is nearby at Little Clerkseat, said: “I don’t really ken what happened.

“I think it must have been some sort of electrical fault.

“As it was burning, I was worried that the fuel tank might explode because it’s only made of plastic.

“I got on a tractor and used that to tow the thing away, although I only managed to get it to move back a short distance before the tow rope burned right through.

“I then tried to put out the fire with water but it was no use.”

A fire crew from Fochabers was sent to the scene at about 8.45am yesterday, and took over from Mr Milne. They managed to bring the blaze under control by about 10am.

Mr Milne thanked the crew for their efforts, and said: “The barn is full of bales which are so dry at the moment they would have set off straight away.

“I was concerned that the flames could spread over the whole steading.

“I’m glad the firemen arrived as quickly as they did.”

A fire service spokesman said: “We were called to respond to a fire involving a heavy plant vehicle at Little Cantly in the Grange area east of Keith.

“The firefighters used one hose reel jet and foam to extinguish the fire, which was well alight when they arrived.

“Thankfully, no one was injured during the incident.”

Like a forklift truck, a telescopic handler is used to lift heavy loads – although it works with a crane rather than with grabs.

When new it would cost about £40,000.

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