A farmer and his wife have told of their devastation after a huge fire gutted their barn and wrecked 25 caravans near Burton.

John and Pauline Hall were awoken by a loud noise at 1.30am on Sunday, May 20, to find a barn on their farm in Lount Lane, Anslow, was on fire, along with 25 caravans that they stored for people. Gas cylinders in the caravans also exploded in the flames.

A brave stable girl who was staying at the farm that night and was awoken by the noise as the fire raged was praised after she managed to get nearby horses to safety. She has not been named.

Today the couple have told of their upset, but say they are grateful to firefighters who tackled the incident.

At its height there were eight fire engines and more than 30 firefighters tackling the fire. It is not known what caused it as an investigation was being carried out, although it is not thought to be suspicious.

The aftermath of the fire Anslow

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service initially sent two engines from Burton station to the farm, which was followed by further engines from Tutbury and Barton-under-Needwood and the water carrier from Cheadle.

Due to the size of the fire further appliances from Abbots Bromley, Lichfield and Swadlincote were called in to help. The firefighters had to separate the fire into different 'sectors' in order to fight the blaze which destroyed a stable building, the barn and two bales of straw.

The fire service said that one woman suffered smoke inhalation and was given oxygen therapy at the scene.

Animals had to be rescued during large barn fire at farm in Anslow

Mrs Hall said the farm had been in the family since 1919 and she wanted to thank the fire service and everyone who had helped them since through some 'difficult' days.

She said: "Thankfully all the staff and animals are safe. I cannot praise Staffordshire fire brigade enough. It was a very difficult situation because they had to get enough water from the point at the bottom of Lount Lane.

Firefighters at the scene as the fire rages

"They were wonderful and absolutely amazing. They got the fire under control as quickly as they possibly could. On the farm it has made some impact as it has taken one building out of action and part of another one.

"However, it has burned out around 25 caravans and 10 others are severely heat damaged. We store caravans for people and that has been the biggest impact.

"Everyone was informed by 9am and they spoke to the fire officer and we have been kept very well informed of the situation.

"We were alerted to the fire at around 1.30am and we originally thought it was fireworks for a royal wedding party. We soon released that it wasn't and called the station straight away.

"Luckily the stable girl was staying overnight and she was able to release all of the horses so they are all safe. She was very heroic to do that.

"We are very upset for our customers because we have some lovely customers since the caravan side opened in 2000.

"I can honestly say they are lovely and have been very understanding and sympathetic."

Fire crews in Anslow dealing with the barn fire

After the initial call out, as crews fought the flames, the number of engines there was scaled back to three at about 6.12am but crews were still damping down the fire, said a spokesman.

A tractor was used to move burning straw from within the barn so it could be extinguished in smaller piles or left to burn out in a safe and controlled manner.

Crews left the incident at about 3.10pm on Sunday and returned later that evening to re-inspect the site, leaving the incident a final time at 8.20pm.

A joint fire investigation was carried out by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Midlands Fire Service, with assistance from fire investigation dog Kai and his handler Matt Dixon.

Kai is specially kitted out with heat resistance pads for his paws so he can move around an area where there has been a fire safely.

Fire investigation dog Kai was at the scene

Brian Griffiths, fire investigation officer, said: "This incident was very challenging for firefighters due to the large outbuildings and number of caravans involved, with others at risk of igniting.

"The caravans contained gas cylinders which only added to the dangerous conditions faced by crews, who worked tirelessly through the night to gain control of the blaze.

A number of LPG cylinders exploded during the fire and the fire crews had to act quickly to ensure that no other cylinders were involved.

"A number of horses were stabled in one of the buildings but thankfully due to the quick actions of one of the stable hands none were injured as they were let out to the safety of the nearby fields.

"The fire investigation was particularly difficult and lengthy due to the large area involved. Unfortunately due to the extent of the damage we were unable to determine a cause but at this time there is nothing to suggest that the fire was started deliberately."