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Combine fire hits family at harvest-time

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 07, 2012

  • INFERNO: The combine harvester ablaze at Rosedinnick Farm. : Matthew Rodliffe

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A FARMING family from Talskiddy are counting the cost after their combine harvester burst into flames during a crucial harvest.

Alan Rodliffe, of Rosedinnick Farm, grabbed a fire extinguisher and leapt from the vehicle to tackle the fire at around 6.30pm on Saturday evening.

But the blaze quickly erupted beyond his control – as these photographs show.

Alan's nephew, Matthew, who runs the farm with his uncle and father, Michael, said the fire couldn't have come at a worse time.

He said: "This year has been a really terrible harvest in a lot of ways and this was the last thing we needed. The crop quality of wheat is quite poor and yields are down.

"We don't really know what the cause of the fire was. Combine harvesters can be quite prone to this though. Some oily dust must have just caught fire.

"My uncle was driving it at the time. By the time he grabbed the fire extinguisher it was too far gone to do anything. He ran into the farm and my mother called the fire brigade. By the time we got back out there was quite a blaze."

Fire crews from St Columb and Newquay extinguished the fire using a hose reel and specialist breathing equipment. No one was injured.

Matthew, 22, who took the photos, said that bad weather had fortunately meant they only missed out on a day or two's harvesting.

He added: "It would have been frustrating if it had been bright sunshine."

The family travelled to Dorset to buy a second-hand combine on Wednesday, to ensure they didn't miss out on the forecasted good weather. New combine harvesters can cost £250,000, according to Matthew.

Their insurance company employed a salvage team to move the burnt-out vehicle.

The family paid tribute to the swift reactions of the fire service.

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