“They were trying to find out [the fire] but at that time it was already burning. Then the forklift’s gas canisters started exploding, so they took everyone away, and at that point it was unstoppable. The diesel bottles exploded, spread across the patio and took away the machines, it was just a matter of containing it”.

These are the words of father and carpenter Scott Blytt Jordens of Bishopston, who described the scenes in his shed and workshop in Cheriton Woods, Gower, on Wednesday 8th March. After Scott got a call from concerned neighbors that his barn was on fire, he ran into the woods as fast as he could.

The 42-year-old man arrived at the scene around 5:30 pm and was greeted by firefighters who were trying to reach the shed to put out the fire that had started inside. What started out as a “beautiful snowy day” in Swansea spending time with her son soon turned into a nightmare. Disturbed, Scott found himself helpless as he watched his livelihood burn before his eyes. You can get more Swansea news and other news straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletters here.



The fire spread quickly because of the firewood.



Barn and workshop for fire damage.



A large barn fire broke out on March 8.
A large-scale barn fire broke out on March 8.

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“It is really quite desperate. You are powerless. Physically, I didn’t suffer so much. You just feel like you’re going to throw up. I just witnessed it, seriously, there’s not much you can do. [The fire service] tried really hard, but access was difficult and they just couldn’t get enough water, so it became a containment. At that point, we just had to accept that it was completely gone.”

Crews from Swansea rushed to the Gower to fight the massive blaze, which took over twelve hours to put out. Firefighters were initially unable to properly access the listed building and needed to assess where there were certain risks to their own safety, Scott said. But at the time, the businessman knew that once the fire reached a certain part of his barn, the high-value wood that was supposed to be his income for years to come would be consumed by the flames.

“You know, it was a perfect fire. [Timber] everything was piled high with lots of air spaces to help it dry, but that’s how a fire starts. Add that to the weekly supply of fresh diesel,” said Scott.

Firefighters worked at the site until midnight to ensure the fire was fully contained, but Scott said that when he returned to the barn the next day, although it was safe because everything around it had burned, part of it was still burning. . “Sometimes I have to pinch myself. This happens? That happened? You nod in shock and reality, but I think that’s the way it is,” Scott said, adding that there was around £250,000 in damage this afternoon.



Cheriton Woods.
Cheriton Woods, where Scott’s barn was located



Scott Blytt Jordans
Scott worked as a carpenter for 20 years.



Fire damage.
Fire damage.

After purchasing woodland land in the Cheriton village of Gower in 2016, Scott has continued to grow his eco-friendly Dragonfly Creations business from the new base over the past few years. Creating products from local trees grown on the land around them, Scott and his team worked in a warehouse where raw materials, tools and equipment were stored.

Scott, who first came to Swansea in 2000 to study anthropology and fell in love with the local landscape, said hisad built a work shed in recent years and it was “everything new and shiny and exciting”.

Scott said he and his team are working to ensure that Cheriton Woods and its wildlife are well cared for in the long term. “My business has always worked with local wood, having forests and being able to develop them, using local wood and setting up a business that was the realization of a dream,” he said.

The barn was the center of that dream, but unfortunately it only took one night for everything Scott and his team worked so hard to burn to the ground. Working with wood can be a long process, explained Scott, and it can take several years to prepare planks of wood from locally felled trees so they are ready for manufacture. “We’ve been doing this for a while and building, unfortunately it’s over,” he said.



Some of the damage to Scott's barn.
Some of the damage to Scott’s barn



The fire caused £250,000 worth of damage.
The fire caused £250,000 worth of damage.



More damage to Scott's barn.

Another huge blow to Scott’s business and family was that the barn and its contents were not insured as his policy had recently expired and renewing it was on his to-do list for the week. Scott admitted that the admin was one of his “weak spots”, explaining that he didn’t realize it in time and now there was nothing he could do but learn from his mistake. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

“You get really short if you focus on the fire and the loss and what could have caused it. You just get into really negative ‘what ifs’,” said the father of two. “But I’m learning that doesn’t get me or anyone else anywhere. So we focus on what we can do and what we have. We have our health and each other’s and we can work through that and the forests are still here. Above all, I understand that community value and support is uplifting.”

Scott’s friends organized a fundraiser to help raise money and get the business back on track. With Scott, his crew and their families needing to rebuild from scratch and replace twenty year old instruments lost in the fire, the fundraiser hopes to highlight the importance of Scott’s sustainable work and ensure it continues. The fundraiser has already raised over £16,000 and is helping Scott keep the business running as his team plans to work outdoors in temporary shelters.



Inside the barn that housed Scott's business.
Inside the barn that housed Scott’s business after the fire



A man lost a business he had built for over 20 years in a massive fire and had no insurance.  Scott with children, 19-year-old Ruby, 10-year-old Thor and his wife Natalie.
Scott with his children, Ruby, 19, and Thor, 10, and his wife Natalie.



Volunteers came to plant trees on Scott's land a few days after the fire.
Volunteers came to plant trees on Scott’s land a few days after the fire.

“The most important thing for this crowdfunder is the morale of knowing the people are behind us,” Scott said. “It gives us the strength to go on and feel like we can do this, we can rebuild, we can achieve this and we can get through this. This power is very strong.

“It’s the power of knowing that people care about what matters most right now. I mean obviously money matters too. Let’s find out, I haven’t created a strategy yet because I’m still working on preparing the temporary workshops for the summer.”

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