No Horses Or People In Fair Hill Barn Destroyed By Christmas Eve Fire - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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No Horses Or People In Fair Hill Barn Destroyed By Christmas Eve Fire

No people or horses were injured in a Christmas Eve fire that destroyed a barn at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.

The barn known as Parlo II West, which housed an outpatient veterinary clinic operated by Dr. Kathleen Anderson and is used for much of the year by trainer Michael Matz, was fully engulfed in flames at about 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, according to a witness. The fire was under control within 90 minutes, but the damage had been done with little besides the concrete block walls remaining.

Matz, a former Olympic equestrian best known in racing as the trainer of  2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, had moved his stable to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida for the winter. Anderson was out of town for the Christmas holiday when the fire broke out and she said the clinic closed at around 4 p.m. because of the holiday. The fire did not spread to any other barns.

Anderson said the barn was built in 2005 and had a fire alarm system, fire wall and sprinkler system. The cause of the fire, she said, was not known.

“We appear to have lost everything, but fortunately no horses or people were involved,” said Anderson. “There was a lot of diagnostic equipment: X-rays, ultrasound, the pharmacy, plus medical records.”

A former president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Anderson lost her home to a fire in 1997.

“This is the second time around for me,” she said. “The 1997 fire was not pleasant, and this is more tolerable because it's strictly material possessions and we can deal with that. Dealing with the loss of horses or people is far worse.”

Nevertheless, Anderson said, both she and Matz – whom she spoke to by telephone – are “distraught” over the loss.

This is also the second fire at Fair Hill, which had a 40-stall barn destroyed in a 2005 blaze that left 24 horses dead.

Keith Cooper, who operates Cooper Horse Transportation in Elkton, said the company had a fleet of horse fans within 500 feet of the burning barn with “only a stand of trees between them.

“Got a call that they may be in peril,” said Cooper. “The trees nearby were on fire 50 feet up but opposite our trucks. The fire companies had stood by them and the nearby barn to protect them.”

Denise Bennett, who is stabled at an adjacent barn, submitted the following video of the fire.

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