27 horses killed in stable fire
At least 27 thoroughbred race horses died early Monday near West Virginia’s Charles Town Races after a fire broke out at a group of privately-owned stables, local and race officials said.
The fire started at about 4:45 a.m., and horse owners and nearby tourists worked to free the horses as fire enveloped several older, wooden barns across the street from the Hollywood Casino and the race track. About 26 horses were saved, let loose and later re-captured, said Ed Smith, chief of the Charles Town Independent Fire Company.
“It was feeding time and a lot of people saw the fire going, but it all happened very quickly,” said Ken Lowe, president of the Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association.
Smith said investigators have not determined what caused the fire but state fire marshals on the scene said it was likely accidental. Two people — a casino employee and a firefighter — suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, officials said. Three wooden barns were completely destroyed and a fourth was damaged.
Property damage was estimated at $1.2 million, and each horse was thought to be worth at least $10,000, although Smith said the value of the horses was “probably much, much higher.” Three different sets of owners, including two local horse trainers, have been identified, officials said.
Horse racing is big business at Charles Town, which opened in 1933 and is situated about 70 miles from Washington, near the Maryland and Virginia borders. The race track runs about 220 days a year and gambling revenues usually total in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Smith, who has served as Charles Town’s fire chief since 1974, said Monday’s fire was the “worst, as far as damage, that I’ve ever seen.”
-- By Derek Kravitz
Posted by: OldSalt8 | September 6, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: husker01 | September 6, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kathrynsmith | September 6, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ctown2010 | September 6, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tired13 | September 6, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.