A SENIOR firefighter has criticised two workmen who suffered burns while trying to put out a fire at a barn.

Four other people were treated for smoke inhalation following the blaze at The Paddocks, in Lower Dunton Road, Dunton.

Station officer Geoff Wheal, from Corringham Fire Station, said: “These men were hurt attempting to tackle the fire.

“Incidents like this show how important it is to get out and wait for fire crews to arrive.

“We have the training and protective equipment to deal with fires properly and in attempting to tackle a fire themselves, people are only going to end up getting hurt.”

The fire broke out at The Paddocks, which houses dogs and horses, at about 4.15pm on Monday night.

One of the people who was treated for smoke inhalation was taken to Basildon Hospital.

An employee at the farm, who did not want to give her name, said the two injured men were carrying out work on the site.

She said: “When the fire started, they tried to pull the hay out of the barn that was burning.

“We still don’t knowwhat happened, but everyone is OK and the person whowas taken to hospital, was released last night.

“The animals here, the horses and dogs, are also OK.”

The fire was in a shed that measured three by eight metres.

Ten per cent of the straw was alight.

Crews extinguish the fire by 5.38pm.

The four people suffering from smoke inhalation were placed in the care of the Ambulance Service.

Essex Police do not think the fire was suspicious.