Owner’s heartbreak and fury after late night blaze devastates Hartlepool allotment

A Hartlepool woman has spoken of her heartbreak after a fire destroyed her allotment.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 5:11 pm
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 5:12 pm

Owner Jane Hernett, 48, has described the moment she went to feed her chickens at the allotment on Monday morning and discovered that the place had been on fire overnight.

Jane, who has not experienced a similar incident in the 25 years she has had the allotment, has said what she felt was “not shock, but heartbreak”.

The aftermath of the fire on Monday morning./Photo: Kevin Brady

She said: “It’s waist-deep in ashes and burnt timber. I have totally lost my shed. I have lost the green house, which was joined onto the shed. I have also lost a polytunnel. Everything, really.

"The only positive is that the chickens are fine.”

Jane, who was growing tomatoes, cucumbers and melons, has said that the damage is worth thousands of pounds.

But she is determined to rebuild “bigger and better”, adding: "I couldn’t live without it, really.

An allotment caught fire in Hartlepool on Sunday evening (January 9)./Photo: Simon Roberts

“I don’t go to a gym, that’s my exercise. To my mental health, it’s invaluable.”

The garden centre worker added: “It will be better than it was before.

"I am absolutely heartbroken and furious, but that is not going to keep me going. What’s going to keep me going is the thought that I won’t let them grind me down.

"I am just looking forward to spring and summer and making a start to rebuild.”

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Cleveland Fire Brigade said on Monday that the cause of the blaze is being investigated after firefighters spent over one hour tackling the flames the night before.

A spokesperson for the fire service said: “We were called on 09/01/22 at 20.54 to an allotment fire at Burn Valley Gardens.

"Four sheds were well alight. One engine attended from Hartlepool with one hose reel. We left the scene at 22.10.

"The cause is still being investigated as per our usual procedure for all incidents.”

The allotment fire comes after a busy Sunday for the fire service in Hartlepool.

A caravan was destroyed on the A689 at Claxton Bank, portable toilets were destroyed in Kingsley Avenue and rubbish and plastics were set alight in Bertha Street.

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