A TEAM of 40 firefighters were called out to deal with a huge fire that tore through a 100ft long barn and sparked a warning to the public. 

Fire chiefs were concerned that it may contain asbestos after crews from across the area were drafted in to fight the blaze near Workington.

It broke out next to Stainburn Road just before 5.30am yesterday. [Sunday]. 

Residents who live in the area were initially advised to closed their windows but that advice was withdrawn after officials said that the smoke from the fire posed no danger to the public. 

The blaze was so intense partly because the two-storey barn involved was filled with hay. 

There were fears it may spread to adjacent buildings. 

Crews and equipment came from across west Cumbria, including Workington, Maryport, Whitehaven, Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith. 

The resources brought to the blaze included five fire engines and an aerial ladder platform. 

“There were a couple of issues,” said west Cumbria based station commander Keith Bethwaite. 

“The first was the amount of hay which was stored in the property and the farmer had issues with having to move quite a lot of livestock – cattle and sheep which were in the adjacent barn.” 

In the first few hours of the fire, a multi-agency team involving the police and health officials was set up to advise on the possible asbestos risk, but the incident was later downgraded. 

Stainburn Road remained closed for several hours amid fears that the huge smoke plume from the fire could make driving conditions hazardous. 

Once the flames had died down it became clear that the sandstone barn had been completely destroyed. 

Mr Bethwaite added: “We had some good support from the police and Public Health England North West. 

“It was a large and intense fire and fortunately nobody was injured."

The asbestos fears over the fire receded at 11am, with police confirming that there was no threat perceived to the public. 

Once the blaze was brought under control, farm workers helped the police to remove smouldering hay bales from the barn.