FLAMES ripped through an historic timber framed barn on a farm on Tuesday, with firefighters arriving just in time defend a nearby hay store from the sparks.
The fire, at Blackbrook Farm, near Petworth, destroyed the two cars stored inside and brought the timber frame crashing to the ground.
Firefighters from Petworth, Midhurst, Haslemere and Storrington were called to the scene just before midday.
Midhurst fire station officer, Nigel Gamblen, said: “We arrived just in time to stop the fire spreading to the Dutch barn. The barn was used for storage – It was a lovely old building. We believe it was an accidental fire.” Firefighters pumped water from the pond to extinguish the blaze.
The 500 year old building was the property of the Leconfield Estate, but used by tennants Graham and Sheila Allen who have lived on the farm for 35 years.
Charles Granlund, agent for Leconfield Estate, said: “It is a great shame, it was quite an old building and unfortunately the tennants have lost a couple of cars.”
Sheila Allen said she had heard a noise which she said sounded like rushing water.
“It was quite scary. I thought it was going to go in to the straw. Hysteria set in pretty quickly.”