Arsonists start fire at stables

NRHNpl120207a1, Denby stable fire. Dave Shaw

NRHNpl120207a1, Denby stable fire. Dave Shaw

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AN ARSON attack at a stables has left a horse owner devastated.

AN ARSON attack at a stables has left a horse owner devastated.

NRHNpl120207a1, Denby stable fire.

NRHNpl120207a1, Denby stable fire.

Dave Shaw has spent the last seven years building the large wooden structure, where he kept two horses and a flock of sheep for breeding, just off Church Street in Denby.

But on Saturday at around 8pm it was burned to the ground by arsonists, say fire investigators, who ruled out gas and electrical faults as possible causes.

Civil servant Mr Shaw, who has spent more than £20,000 fitting out the stables since he bought a five-acre patch of land there ten years ago, said it was a miracle none of the animals were hurt in the blaze, which took fire crews more than three hours to bring under control.

He said: “I’ve got nothing left, the hoof picks, the brushes, clippers, the feed, hay – the lot – it’s all gone.

“I started on there with just an empty field. I had built it just how I wanted it and was getting it just right after seven years.”

Mr Shaw, of Church Street, had been there earlier that day and when he left at 6.30pm his two older horses, both in their 20s, were feeding inside the stables, which are left open for the animals.

“My initial thought was the horses are still in the barn – that was when I had last saw them,” he said.

“Thankfully they were down the bottom of the field. It doesn’t bare thinking about what could have happened.”

Now he says the animals face a harsh remainder of the winter without the shelter of the stables. He and his daughter Katie Martin, have reared prize winning goats and horses on the land before.

He said other nearby farms had been kind to him, helping to supply him with hay and feed at cost price, since the fire. He also thanked Denby villagers for their kindness, many of whom have offered him help in rebuilding the structure.

Neighbours dialled 999 after spotting flames coming from the wooden structure on Saturday evening.

Carol Young, 43, who lives opposite the padlocked gate to the stables watched the drama unfold.

She said: “It was about 8.30pm and we just heard the sirens - it was well ablaze, it happened very fast.

“Three fire engines and two police cars were outside at the time. Two of the fire engines were still in the field when we went to bed at around 11.30pm.

“The flames were very high, it was quite a substantial structure.”

Station manager Steve Ratcliffe, who conducted a fire investigation at the scene, said: “We were faced with a well developed fire – the whole barn was engulfed in flames.”

“The crews put it out and spent two hours fighting the flames.

“Gas and electrical faults were ruled out and deliberate ignition was given as the cause.

He added: “It’s quite a sad story when someone puts their life and soul into a small holding and someone just walks up and sets fire to it.”

Mr Shaw said he has no idea who could have carried out the arson attack on his stables.

But he is remaining positive about rebuilding them.

“I’ve had no end of offers from people to help out – I’m treating it as an opportunity to rebuild and get it just right.”

Anyone with concerns about fire safety is asked to call Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Services on 01332 771221.

Also anyone that witnessed anything suspicious on Saturday night is urged to contact police using the non-emergency number 101.