Investigation launched into fire at Beaulieu Road Pony Sale Yard
POLICE have launched a probe into a blaze which broke out at a historic New Forest livestock sales site in the early hours.
Firefighters from across the district responded as flames engulfed a car and spread to a wooden structure within the Beaulieu Road Pony Sale Yard, near Lyndhurst, around 12.20am yesterday (Thursday).
The cause of the blaze has not yet been confirmed by either police or Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.
It was said to have developed rapidly, and crews from Beaulieu, Lyndhurst and Hythe were backed up by colleagues from Ringwood and Eastleigh as the flames raged on.
Equipped with breathing apparatus, they battled for about two hours to contain the emergency at the yard, off the B3056 Beaulieu Road.
By the time the blaze had been extinguished, the vehicle, a Lexus IS 200, was gutted while the wooden “bandstand” structure sustained about 25% damage.
A post afterwards on Beaulieu fire station’s Twitter account said: “Upon arrival crews faced a rapidly developing fire. Assertive firefighting meant we were able to save the main structure.”
Police joined the fire service's investigators in examining the scene.
A spokesperson for the Hampshire force said: “We were called just before 1am yesterday (8th April) to a report of a Lexus IS 200 on fire at an address in Beaulieu Road.
“The fire had caused damage to a wooden bandstand.
“Officers are making enquiries as to the exact circumstances of the fire.”
A well-known New Forest landmark, the Beaulieu Road Pony Sale Yard has been used by commoners to sell their ponies at auction for more than 60 years.
It has been leased by Forestry England to the New Forest Livestock Society since 2002, and pre-pandemic hosted up to six auctions per year.
Amid continued restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19, an online pony sale is due to take place on Thursday 3rd June in place of the spring sale usually held at the yard.
The New Forest Commoners Defence Association expressed its devastation at the news of the blaze in response to the Beaulieu fire station tweet.
“Heartbreaking,” it posted. “A huge loss to the commoning community and the New Forest Livestock society. Years of hard work.”