In a very fortuitous stroke of luck, a group of people who were enjoying a ride over the Cullompton skies in a hot air balloon managed to notice flames, soon alerting authorities to the blaze.
The fire had broken out in an unattended outbuilding and may well have gotten much worse if it had not been reported by the hot air balloon’s pilot, who spotted it from above and was able to alert the fire service. The brigade then sent out three of its fire engines to the woodland area in Hele, Devon, where the blaze was extinguished.
Speaking about the incident, Kevin Jones, one of the passengers who was in the balloon at the time, said:
“We took off from Rockbeare and were flying towards Hele and spotted smoke. First thoughts were that it was from the mill but as we got closer realised it was further over than the mill and that it was a big fire.”
Jones, who is a self-employed Willand chimney sweep, also told reporters that he realised there was a problem because the fire he and the other passengers saw was too large to be either a casual bonfire or a chimney blaze, which he said are a usual sight at this time of year. Luckily, the blaze was put out before it spread, leaving only the brick outbuilding damaged.
Hot air balloon rides from Bath to Taunton are a great way to see the country, and who knows, they could help prevent more accidents too.