Fire engulfed the only horse barn at the Shenandoah Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Va., early Thursday morning, between 6 and 6:30 a.,m., but only one horse was in the barn at the time and it was saved. One end of the barn, emcompassing about five stalls, was also saved.
Horseman Stacy Marston had gone to Wal-Mart to shop for Valentine's Day gifts for his family and saw flames from the fairgrounds, where he had a horse. He drove to the fairgrounds and since the fire was at the opposite end of the barn from where the horse was in a stall, he was able to get the horse out of the barn.
Horsewoman Betsy Brown trains horses over the half-mile track at the fairgrounds, but does not keep her horses in the barn overnight.
"I'm training 12 horses and I train them at the half-mile track there and then take them to Terry Kibler's farm nearby and turn them out," she explained. "It's just a paradise to train there. The fairgrounds is surrounded by mountains."
Brown and Marston lost all of their equipment in the blaze, which included harness, jog carts and sulkies, and other tack.
Woodstock Fire Chief Phil Hottel told a local newspaper that firemen saw the blaze as they came down the town's main street.
"It's all wood construction, very old," Hottel said. "We were probably lucky we saved that much of it. We had some minor damage to homes behind. Very minor to one, and a little bit more to another. It melted siding on the shed."
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