Firefighter stops huge blaze from reaching his home

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A FIREFIGHTER leapt into action to stop a blaze engulfing his house.

Arsonists torched 15 tons of hay a few yards from the home of fireman Dave Graham.

The 41-year-old woke up in the middle of night and saw the orange glow from his bedroom window.

He dashed out of his house and joined the local farmer as they desperately tried to stop the raging inferno spreading.

Fire engines went to Heberdens Farm, in Ashcroft Lane, Finchdean, near Rowlands Castle, at 1.30am yesterday.

Mr Graham, who lives with his wife and two children in Ashcroft Lane and works at Basingstoke Fire Station, said: 'I woke up at 1.30am and saw a glow in the field.

'I looked out of the window and realised the haystack was alight.

'A neighbour three doors down had already put a call in as he had been outside having a cigarette. I took charge of the incident. With the help of the farmer we have been damping it down. I was on call last night anyway.'

Mr Graham, pictured, worked throughout the night along with 22 other firefighters from Horndean, Havant, Southsea and Cosham stations.

The 41-year-old said: 'It was quite well alight when it was discovered.

'We just worked to try and make sure it did not spread to my garden shed.

'It was the shortest fire call I have ever travelled to.'

A cloud of smoke from the fire filled the air in the village and could be smelt as far as the centre of Rowlands Castle.

The fire was a few hundred feet from the main train line from Portsmouth to London, but rail services were not affected.

The blaze was contained by 8am yesterday morning, but took several hours to be put out entirely.

The cause of the fire is now being investigated by police, who believe the blaze was started deliberately.

The hay was from the summer crop at Heberdens Farm, which specialises in arable crops and horses.

The hay had already been sold and was awaiting collection.

Mr Graham added: 'There was no rhyme nor reason why a fire should start in a haystack at this time of year.

'Police have been doing house to house inquiries.

'They have been knocking on people's doors to see if they heard anything.'

Anyone with information about the fire should call police on 101, or 0845 045 45 45 for those living outside Hampshire.