First let me say that apart from my neighbour who has badly burnt arms and a stable girl with burns to her hand everybody else is safe and sound and all the horses too though one has some burns. I can only be thankful that things didn't escalate in what must be every horse owners' nightmare - a stable fire.
Let me start at the beginning. This afternoon while I was working outside near the conservatory I was aware of a steady clattering noise which I thought was normal farm machinery noise. Then I heard a large vehicle coming down the hill and when I looked up it was a fire engine with lights going but no sirens. I walked over to the washing lines to see what was happening only to see and hear flames and a great cloud of black smoke leaping into the sky from one of the big farm buildings next door. A second fire engine appeared as I quickly took in the clothes I had airing on the line and at that point I wondered how much danger we were in. Our house is made of stone but if fire got into the roof spaces that would be it. By that time I had run into the house yelling for Peter. He was about to ring 999 when I told him the fire engines were already there. He then went straight over to our neighbours while I closed all the windows to stop the smoke from getting into the house. By the time I went over 2 more fire engines appeared and a bit later more fire vehicles including a water bowser arrived. Luckily the firemen could draw water from the lake. We stayed for a short while to offer our help in any way but there were a number of able bodied people already there so we came back home. There is a large barn between us and the burnt barn but if the fire had spread to that or into the trees things could have so much worse. The stable barn is made from concrete up to about 7 ft. from the ground and the loose box walls were all made of concrete, one reason it was possible to get the horses out, but everything above that is destroyed. From what Paul was saying it only took minutes for the fire to spread uncontrollably not surprising with today's extreme heat. Their house, wooden stable block, wooden club house and indoor school all seem to be untouched but there will be an awful lot of work to do to repair the stable barn. Paul's arms are badly burnt and although he was insisting he was fine I presume he went off in the ambulance that eventually arrived along with the stable girl whose hands had been burnt opening the metal stable bolts.
Awful things seem to be happening all around. Yesterday evening somebody (a white man) deliberately drove at a group Muslim people leaving their mosque, a number of people injured and one person sadly lost his life.
Update- Our neighbour's son has just driven over on the quad bike to collect some water. The fire started in something to do with their solar panels and they lost their electricity. They've managed to isolate the power supply to the burned barn but their water pump needs some water putting in to get it started. Paul did go off in the ambulance and is already making plans to do the repairs himself. The vet came down to the horse that was burnt but it is just a few smallish patches on its face. Things you can replace, people you can't.