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Family rescue horses as inferno consumes neighbouring East Boldre Community Hall




AN equestrian told how she and her children rushed to rescue two horses from their field as a huge inferno raged at a next door New Forest community building.

Louise Cranton was woken up on Tuesday night, with several phone calls from people alerting her that flames were engulfing East Boldre Community Hall in Strawberry Fields – just metres from where the family’s animals, Dinky and Sox, are kept.

As reported in the A&T, firefighters from across the district and beyond battled the blaze for over four hours from shortly after 11pm, but the timber structure was completely destroyed.

Fire crews battled the inferno throughout the night (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service) (46646496)
Fire crews battled the inferno throughout the night (Photo: Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service) (46646496)

Fearing for the horses’ safety after being alerted around 11.30pm, Louise rushed to the scene with her 14-year-old twins Rowan and Lucy from their home about a mile away.

“As we drove down the road, we could see thick smoke and the red glow of the fire in the sky, and the blue lights – it was all a bit scary,” Louise said.

“We were just worried about whether the horses were alright and that we could get to them. The field we rent goes right round the hall, and the nearest fence is only about a metre away.”

Lucy on Dinky (left) and Rowan with Sox (46717283)
Lucy on Dinky (left) and Rowan with Sox (46717283)

The trio arrived to find both 16-year-old Dinky and Sox (12) safe and well, and they were able to walk them up Chapel Lane and place them in a friend’s field within about half an hour.

“The horses were so calm, thank goodness, because there were blue lights all over the place and flames raging,” Louise continued.

“The village was brilliant in letting us know and, obviously, the fire crews were amazing.”

The fire-ravaged hall is only about a metre away from the field's nearest boundary fence (Photo: Louise Cranton) (46693016)
The fire-ravaged hall is only about a metre away from the field's nearest boundary fence (Photo: Louise Cranton) (46693016)

Part of the field’s boundary fence was damaged in the fire, and Dinky and Sox had not yet been returned there yesterday (Thursday).

Although police are not currently treating the incident as suspicious, a Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service investigation team was sent to examine the scene on Wednesday.

But a fire service spokesperson told the A&T structural damage to the building prevented their entry.

“The cause of the fire at this time is undetermined,” the spokesperson said.

“We are looking to re-attend to examine the scene once the structure has been made safe.”



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