CHURCH HILL — Quick action by local firefighters prevented what could have been a devastating fire at a Church Hill horse stable complex Saturday evening, although one barn was damaged and about 1,000 bales of hay were lost.
Shortly before 7 p.m., the Church Hill Fire Department was dispatched to the stable complex of Paul Livingston on Church Lane near the Riverview Drive intersection. The blaze had started at one end of a large, open air barn, where hay and equipment were stored.
Fire Chief David Wood said Livingston was away at a horse show when the fire occurred, although there were animals present in nearby stables.
“There were about five barns all together, and this one was in the middle of them,” Wood said. “It’s kind of an open type shed, and at first I thought it might have been the hay that set it off because a lot of times if you put hay in there green it can (ignite). But, he said it’s been in there since April, so there’s no way that was (the reason for the fire), so right now we don’t know (how it started).”
Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles. The Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.
“It had a big potential to spread and Carters Valley backed us up and did a real good job,” Wood said. “Actually we got it out pretty quick, probably within 15 to 20 minutes.”
Also lost in the fire aside from about 1,000 bales of hay were a pickup and a tractor.
Firefighters brought a backhoe to the scene to assist in wetting and spreading the hay to put it out, but it rekindled around 12:30 p.m., prompting a second visit by the fire department.