CATTLE narrowly escaped death when fire struck a Denbighshire farm for the third time in two years.

The 40 animals were penned at Coppy Farm on Denbigh’s Henllan Road when the latest blaze broke out in a cattle shed.

Farmer Emyr Tudor and Rob Morris raced two miles from Plas Chambres Farm, Denbigh, to release the terrified cattle.

“They were very frightened,” said Emyr, 43, who runs both farms in partnership with his uncle Elwyn Tudor.

“There was black smoke and the shed’s asbestos roof was banging and exploding.

“I ran to the back of the shed and opened the doors.

"There was thick black smoke.

“Another five minutes and half of the cattle could have been dead.”

Some of the Limousin and Holstein steers and sucklers suffered eye irritation, and one animal was “very limp” due to smoke inhalation and had to be injected.

A JCB Loadall, which had been in the shed, was destroyed by the blaze which caused damage estimated at £25,000.

The Loadall had been borrowed from neighbour Gwynfor Evans of Bryn Parc, Henllan, after Emyr Tudor’s Ford digger was damaged by fire early in December.

Mr Tudor believes that the fire, which caused about £1,500 damage to the digger, was probably started by an electrical fault.

Coppy Farm was hit by another blaze about two years ago when 40 tonnes of straw were destroyed in a roadside shed.

Police reached no definite conclusion about the cause of the late-night straw blaze, said Mr Tudor, who reckons that the latest blaze, which is also being investigated, could have been caused by arson, or an electrical fault in the machine or building.

“It makes me sick and scared to leave anything there,” said Mr Tudor who “hoped to God” that last week’s blaze had not been started deliberately.

The alarm was raised at about 3.40pm last Tuesday (December 29) by Donna Davies, of Cefn Berain, who called the fire service after she spotted smoke when she went past the farm, said Mr Tudor.

He was alerted by Rob’s father Dewi who also saw the smoke, and firefighters arrived immediately after the farmer.

“They had the blaze under control within no time,” said Mr Tudor whose partnership farms beef and dairy cattle on a total of 500 acres. “It was done and dusted in an hour.”

Fire crews from Denbigh, St Asaph, Ruthin and Rhyl attended the scene.

Firefighters used one main jet, one hose reel and six sets of breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze which caused 100 per cent fire damage to the tractor and 50 per cent damage to the barn.

A spokeswoman for North Wales Police confirmed that the fire was under investigation.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police on officers on 101, or 0845 607 1001 (Welsh line), 0845 607 1002 (English line) or Crimestoppers Wales Cymru anonymously on 0800 555 111.