Over £800 worth of wheat, beans, and other produce was destroyed by the fire on Sunday at Newton Bromswold, the conflagration being witnessed by a large number of spectators from the surrounding towns and villages.
The fire commenced about 11.30 am and was blazing all through the day and continued to smoulder for some days, as, owing to the scarcity of water, the outbreak had to take its course.
Mr James Harris, to whom the stacks belonged, raises a lot of stock cattle and the damage he will sustain will be very great indeed, for a large quantity of fodder has been destroyed. It is believed that some one either set the stacks alight purposely or accidentally, as spontaneous combustion does not occur in wheat ricks.
Mr Carman, a keeper, told our representative that at 9 am he was round the stacks and everything was then all right. At 11.30 am he noticed some smoke coming from the direction of the stacks, but thought it was a rough field on fire. Some people who live in cottages adjoining the rickyard noticed the fire and gave the alarm. The Rushden Fire Brigade received a call at 11.50 am and quickly responded. When they arrived the ricks were well alight from end to end and they were hampered by lack of water, as only a small pond, two fields away, was available. They got to work, but could do nothing to stop the ravages of the fire which was fanned by a still breeze. Another barn filled with wheat was soon involved and the cattle shed and some buildings were now blazing. The brigade, under Captain F. Knight and Second-Officer Turner, then demolished the woodwork of the cattle shed and so prevented the cottages, which are within a few yards of it being involved. Meanwhile the furniture was quickly removed from the buildings and placed a safe distance from the fire. Despite the arduous efforts of the brigade the ricks burned furiously until well after five o’clock in the afternoon. The ricks destroyed filled a corrugated iron shed over 80 feet long and about 16 feet wide, the whole of which were for the great part of the afternoon a mass of flames.
The police present were Supt. McLeod of Wellingborough; Inspector Bailey and Sergt. Beale, of Rushden; and Sergt. Crowsley of Riseley. We understand the ricks were insured. The full Rushden Brigade turned out. The buildings belonged to Mr Hugh Sartoris.