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Forest of Dean turkeys spared Christmas roasting - by four days

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 11, 2012

  • saved: Bill Hurst with one of the turkeys rescued from the fire at Home Farm, Jubilee Road, Mitcheldean. Inset; the smouldering barn.

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TURKEYS were evacuated from a burning barn, sparing them a premature Christmas fate – by four days.

The 100-strong rafter was rescued from a blaze at Home Farm in Mitcheldean by firefighters yesterday morning.

Two crews from Cinderford were first on the scene and had the unusual task of evacuating the feathered residents.

But it's only prolonged the inevitable, as the birds will start to be slaughtered on Friday ready for a more traditional method of roasting.

While the birds' evacuation has stolen the limelight, the blaze will prove costly for farm owners Andrew and Marilyn Hurst.

They lost a new tractor in the fire, plus other equipment that will put the insurance claim into the tens of thousands.

"We're laughing about it because the only other alternative is to cry," said Marilyn.

"It woke my son up at about 4am. He thought it was the sound of it raining but he realised what was going on and we called the fire brigade.

"At the height of it, you wouldn't believe it. You wouldn't believe flames can get that high and do that damage.

"We've lost a tractor to start with, that was new three months ago so that's £70,000 straight away.

"I wouldn't dare to put a figure on the rest."

The cause of the fire is a mystery but neighbours stepped straight in to help out, some rehoming the turkeys until their date with destiny.

"The birds were in the next door barn to the one burning but we had to get them out because you just don't know if it will spread," said Marilyn.

"The neighbours have been fantastic, they were here helping us out straight away and the turkeys have been evacuated all over the village."

Fire crews were at the farm most of the day, damping down the remains of the barn after they had tempered the flames.

Dave Pike, station commander with the fire service, said: "It was quite tricky moving the turkeys, although they were sleepy and quite docile. The farmer knew how to control them and move them around."

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