FRIENDS and neighbours helped a Wrexham farmer herd more than 100 terrified cows to safety after fire swept through their shed.
Andrew Jones, who runs the Borras Head dairy and arable farm in Borras, near Wrexham, says that if the blaze had started just a few hours later all the animals could have been killed and his business wiped out.
More than 20 firefighters from the Wrexham, Johnstown and Deeside stations were called to the farm in Borras Road at about 8.15pm on Sunday after the alarm was raised by a neighbour who telephoned Mr Jones to say she could see smoke coming from the shed.
He dashed out into the yard and saw that one of the sheds containing stocks of silage and hay was ablaze.
Word soon spread that he was in trouble and a handful of neighbours and friends from surrounding farms turned up to help him herd 120 cows from the adjacent shed. None of the animals was injured.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus pushed a burning tractor out of the shed and into the yard.
Crews eventually brought the fire under control by about 11.30pm and then spent another two hours at the farm damping down any smouldering material.
Farmer Mr Jones said: “We have 220 cows on the farm and 120 of them were in the shed which caught fire after flames spread along the wall from the one next to it.
“My father and three other friends came and helped to get them all outside.
“The cows then had to spend the night out in the field.
“We know that 200 bales of hay in the first shed was destroyed and we are still checking on the damage to the silage.”
He added: “If the fire had started later people would have been in bed and nobody would have noticed it.
“All the cows would have been killed and we would probably have then lost the farm.
“We have been very lucky. I know it’s a disaster but you’ve got to look on the positive side.
“I would like to thank all my neighbours and friends who came along to help.”
A spokeswoman for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “When we arrived at the scene the building was heavily smoke-logged and it was difficult to locate the seat of the fire.
“As there was a poor was supply for our hosereels at the farm we set up a water relay from a pond on the property.
"The farmer gave us a great deal of help by digging out bales of hay to help find the seat of the fire.
“One tractor was destroyed and another was damaged.
The cause of the fire cannot be pinpointed.
“However, it is thought either to have been started by an electrical fault in the tractor or to be have been started deliberately.”