A devastated pigeon fancier has recalled watching fire engulf his pigeon shed that left around 70 birds dead.
Stephen Salmon, 59, was on the phone when his neighbour started banging on his front door in Trowbridge, Cardiff, saying his pigeon loft was on fire.
The blaze on Tuesday had spread from next door causing the 40-foot long building to catch fire.
Dad Stephen, who has raced pigeons since he was 11 years old, said: “It was absolutely devastating. I was here with my friend at about 4.30pm and he said someone had lit a fire and I should get the washing in.
“It wasn’t big then so I didn’t think anymore of it.”
But around two hours later his neighbour was banging on the door saying the pigeon loft had caught fire.
Stephen said: “I ran into the garden and into the shed to try and save my stock birds.
“But it was just too much. They had to drag me out of there – I didn’t like seeing them die like that.
“The fire brigade came but it was too late, they had all perished.”
Out of around 120 pigeons Stephen had in the shed, around 70 were killed in the fire.
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service sent two crews to the scene, and said the cause of the fire was accidental.
Stephen said: “What is most upsetting about it is my stock birds because over the last 10 years I have built it up and spent thousands, and you can’t replace that.
“My kids paid £600 for two birds for me once and they perished.”
Stephen, who is part of the Llanrumney Royal British Legion pigeon club, said the total loss amounted to around £10,000.
The pigeon loft is currently cordoned off and will be removed by the Cardiff Community housing association.
Stephen praised the quick response of the fire service and said he was “most grateful” for their help.
A fire service spokeswoman said they received reports of a fire at a property in Trowbridge at 6.28pm.
Two crews, from Roath and Cardiff Central, attended the scene.
They confirmed a pigeon loft was damaged and said the crews extinguished the fire.
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