An investigation is underway after a major fire devastated a stables at a borough farm.
Up to 20 firefighters were called in to tackle a blaze which wrecked a block of 10 stables at Hindleys Farm, in Wigan Road, on the outskirts of Atherton.
And fire chiefs say it was only by good fortune that the horses, housed there, had been moved into nearby fields just a week before.
Craig Little, crew manager for Atherton fire station's White Watch, said: "It was only the quick action of the first appliance on the scene which resulted in the fire not spreading to other buildings there.
"The fire was spotted by a neighbour, who rang 999 and alerted the farmer. But we were getting a number of secondary calls about the incident. Fortunately the horses from the stables had been put out into the fields the week before."
Crews from Hindley, Leigh and Bolton fire stations were drafted in, during the early hours of Tuesday, and securing a water supply was an initial challenge.
Mr Little, confirming that the stable block had been left severely damaged by the blaze, said the incident had been passed over to Greater Manchester Police for investigation.
He added: "It took around an hour to bring the fire under control. The stables are in a separate block but there are other buildings nearby."
Firefighters returned to the scene at around 7am before closing down their involvement in the incident.