UPDATE: Dramatic pictures of barn inferno

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Mystery surrounds the cause of a fire that destroyed 100 tonnes of straw and a barn.

Seven fire crews were in attendance for 12 hours at Ray Foster Garden & Forest Machinery in East Street, Turners Hill, from 9.03pm on Sunday (July 5).

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The owner Bob Bather, who lives 200 yards from the barn, took these pictures.

He heard the building’s concrete roofing sheets exploding after his wife opened a door to let their dog out.

He said the explosions sounded like fireworks and added: “When I arrived there was a huge explosion.

“A number of people who were passing in cars had pulled up.

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“The whole barn was ablaze, if it did start intentionally it spread extremely quickly.”

He said no one was working at the barn that evening.

The estimated 100 tonnes of straw bedding in the barn had been left there for years.

A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said a fire crew was still on site in case it reignited and there would be an investigation into its cause.

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No one was injured by the fire which was under control by 5am.

Two fire crews from Crawley, one from Turners Hill, one from East Grinstead, a water carrier from Burgess Hill and a fire engine and a control unit from Haywards Heath were called to the fire in the 20m by 10m barn.

Firefighters used two hoses to stop the blaze which reached at least 750 degrees Celsius spreading to another barn nearby.

A fire spokesman said crews removed 11 cylinders from the second barn as a precaution.

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Mr Bather, and the business’s previous owner Ray Foster, and his brothers, watched the fire destroy the hay and barn. It was insured.

Six of the crews left at 8.41am.

Mr Bather added his dog, Bobby, 8, a Lurcher Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross, is a rescue dog who was scared of bangs and flashing lights.

Bobby went back into their home with his tail in between his legs after he heard the exploding concrete.

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