A CRANE hire boss says he came close to losing his entire business when two separate fires gutted one of his £85,000 vehicles.

Firefighters were called twice within two hours to the yard of TJ Crane Hire in the Bersham Enterprise Centre at Rhostyllen on Wednesday evening.

The first blaze, which happened just after 7pm, has been put down to an electrical fault in one of the massive cranes but North Wales Fire and Rescue Service says it suspects the second, at around 9.15pm, might have been started deliberately.

Trevor Jones, who runs the well-established family business with his son, Colin, said: “The first fire was definitely caused by an electrical fault.

“I know because I had been driving the crane myself and it kept cutting out.

“It stopped dead at one point and I couldn’t move it so I called the fitter out.

“I then went back into the office for a cup of tea and the next thing I knew the crane was on fire.

“I called the fire brigade and they were here very quickly and very good putting it out.

“But it was a blessing it stopped where it did in the yard because if it had been running, I would have parked it next to my other two cranes and they might have caught fire too.

“If that had happened, the whole yard might have gone up and I might have lost my whole business.”

Mr Jones, who has been running the hire firm for 22 years, added: “The second fire I just can’t explain.

“I had just got home from the first one and was having a shower when I got a call saying there was another fire and I was wanted back at the yard.

“At first I thought someone was messing me about – but it was true.

“The crane has two cabs. The first fire was in one of the cabs and did a lot of damage and the second one was in the other cab.

“Although there wasn’t much damage with that one, the crane has been lost and I’ll now have to get another one as soon as possible to continue the business.

“I reckon the one destroyed was worth about £85,000 but now it only has scrap value. The second fire I can’t explain.

“The fire investigators were here on Thursday morning and I will leave it to them.” Mr Jones added: “It’s a worry to me if someone started it deliberately. We’ve never had anything set on fire here before.”

A fire services spokeswoman said: “It looks as though the second fire was deliberate ignition.

“Our investigators will be putting together a report and speaking to the police.”