A FIRE that sparked a major Dorset barn fire was caused accidentally.

The fire that destroyed the barn at Creech Holding started at midday on Monday and fire crews were on scene damping down until 5am yesterday morning. (tues) Crews then returned to the barn, between Tolpuddle and the A35, at 7am and 2pm yesterday to reinspect the scene.

Tolpuddle residents were told to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed due to an asbestos risk from the blaze.

A spokesman for Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said: “The cause is going down as accidental. It looks like it was a fire that spread from a controlled burn.”

The spokesman added some general safety advice and said that anyone having a bonfire should call the fire control room to let them know.

She said: “Make sure if you are having a bonfire, make sure you are with it at all times.”

The fire service also recommend keeping a bucket of water on hand.

At the height of the blaze around 25 firefighters from across the county including Dorchester, Wareham, Poole and Bere Regis were on scene.

Firefighters at the scene said the building did have asbestos in the roof but that it had largely been destroyed and the Environment Agency would be supervising the removal.

Oxygen cylinders and agricultural chemicals had also been stored in the barn.

Speaking at the scene Deputy area commander for Bournemouth and Poole Tim Spring said: “The fire is in an agricultural building with a variety of contents, some of which represent a significant hazard to us.

“The building did have asbestos on the roof but that has largely been destroyed and the Environmental Agency will supervise the removal of the material.”

He added: “We were made aware of the oxygen cylinders within the building late into this incident.

“Separately they do not present much of a risk but together they can be a significant hazard.”

Dorset Police warned residents to keep inside and keep doors and windows closed and avoid breathing in any smoke and theremay have been a risk of asbestoes.

Speaking at the time of the incident, villagers said they had seen the fire but had been unaware of the risk.

Lillian Royle (corr) said: “We were on our way back home and saw the smoke coming from the A35.

“It was a bit worrying because we realised it was quite near our home.

“It’s a bit grim knowing that there is an asbestos risk, but no one has been round to tell us about it.”

Another resident, who did not want to be named, added: “I saw the smoke when it started. There was a big, black plume of smoke coming from the area.

“I didn’t know there could be asbestos, but I’m not too worried as long as the wind isn’t blowing this way.”

NAnyone having a bonfire should call Dorset Fire and Rescue Service control on 01305 252040.