A warning is going out to farmers to take extra care with fuel and hay/straw storage following a fire in Portarlington at the weekend in which up to 300 bales of straw were destroyed.
Fire crews from both Portarlington Fire Station and Mountmellick Fire Station attended the scene at Corrig on Saturday evening, September 27, with 14 fire fighters responding to tackle the blaze.
Derek Bergin, assistant chief fire officer with Laois County Fire & Rescue Service, revealed that they received the call on Saturday evening at 6pm and we were off site at approximately 2pm on Sunday. He said that the fire was in the open air and not near any livestock or houses.
Mr Bergin also said that the fire service are not sure how the fire started. A garda spokesperson has confirmed that the fire is not being treated as suspicious and no further garda investigation is expected.
The incident comes just one week before this year’s fire safety week, October 6 to October 13. In the wake of the fire, Mr Bergin has issued some advice regarding safe storage of fuel and hay. The advice is to store straw and hay separately from other buildings, particularly those housing fuels and machinery, and store separately from livestock housing where possible. Petrol, diesel and other fuels should be stored in secure areas, fertilisers and pesticides should be kept under lock and key, refuse should be disposed of safely, and electrical wiring should be checked regularly. It is also recommended to avoid using machinery near hay barns due to exhaust sparks.