THERE was a narrow escape for both animals and humans today after a fire broke out an Oxfordshire stables next to an oil tank.

Two fire engines from Bicester plus one from Oxford, and a specialist Water Carrier from Wheatley responded to reports of a stable fire off the A4095 near Kirtlington at 1pm.

On arrival, the fire crew discovered a serious fire involving the whole building, adjacent to a house, large oil tank and caravan.

Fortunately, a visitor noticed the fire as she left their property and was able to move a horse still in the stable block to safety.

Staff from the nearby golf club initially fought the fire with extinguishers and moved some of the more hazardous materials stored in the building to safety.

Three staff members were treated by South Centre Ambulance paramedics for mild smoke inhalation.

Fire Crews used several hose-reels and a large jet to extinguish the fire which had rapidly spread from a small fire in a wooden building, to engulf the whole building in flames. 

Crew Manager Pete Mackay from Bicester Fire Station said: “Unfortunately, the fire quickly spread to a large store of firewood and hay from some hot ashes which had been placed in a plastic box within the building earlier that morning.  

"This fire developed unnoticed, until the wooden building caught alight. Fortunately, due to the quick actions of visitor noticing the fire, the horse was able to be moved and no-animals were injured and we were able to prevent any further spread to the oil tank nearby, whilst tackling the main fire.”

He added: “We cannot stress enough the importance of having working smoke alarms in all properties and even in outbuildings where appropriate, and the need to ensure that hot ash is completely cold before disposal.

"Ash can remain hot for several days and should always be disposed of safely, preferably in a metal bucket with a lid and kept outside away from any flammable materials."