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Kettering Evening Telegraph 21st August 1984

Blaze blocks the A6

Firemen keep up the desperate fight to contain the flames as smoke and smut darken the sky
Traffic grinds to a halt on the A6 as a fireman fights to save the hedgerow
Flames whip through a farm trailer as the blaze takes hold of the hedge

A massive blaze spread across several fields wiping out 120 acres of crops and two miles of hedgerow near Finedon yesterday. Firemen from three counties were called in to fight the flames which spread across land behind Millers Close, blocking the A6 for more than two hours.

One woman was overcome by smoke and a fireman suffered a slight head injury. At the height of the blaze there were 14 fire engines plus a mobile unit, including firemen drafted in from Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. They spent seven hours at the scene after the fire "jumped" across the A6. At first it seemed under control, but problems were caused when the wind suddenly changed direction.

The blaze started at about 2:20pm. Police at Wellingborough said last night it was caused by sparks from a rubbish fire on land behind the United Biscuits factory. As it spread across fields, a workers' caravan was engulfed in flames and a liquid petroleum gas cylinder inside exploded. By 4pm the fire covered both sides of the main Finedon to Kettering road and had almost reached disused quarries near Station Road.

Market researcher Carole Kenna of Souldrop, was driving along the A6 when she was overcome by fumes as her car filled with smoke. She was in a collision with another car and was taken to Kettering General Hospital, but not admitted. Mrs Kenna, a mother of two, said: "Suddenly I could not see anything. I was so frightened - I was just pleased I did not have my children with me."

Much of the land is worked by tenant James Turney, of Buccleuch Farm, who has been left counting the cost. His farm was evacuated as flames crept nearer across the fields. He said the crop was a special kind of wheat that was grown under contract. "The seed was very expensive. The whole fire was horrific."

Deputy county fire officer Harry Haddock said the fire was so intense at one time it created its own wind. As the hot air rose, cold air swept in and fanned the flames, making the blaze extremely difficult to tackle. "The area was very dry and the lads had to work very hard to get things under control."

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