This was horrible in a barn down the road from us. They lost all of the best show horses including their own breeding/reigning stallion their daughters horse and 10 clients horses.
A wake up call to check your wiring and put a smoke alarm in the barn. I know I am.
We almost lost one of our horses when he was at a training center and it was struck by massive lightening and the whole place burned to the ground.
A little advice. If you don't leave halters on your horses - make sure you can GET TO THEM. Make sure LEADLINES ARE NEAR THE DOORWAY.
Since our experience I always have halters and leadlines in my truck and it came in handy when there was a fire at another barn near us.
In a situation like this fire (the one Edgar posted about), there was no getting to the horses. The fire hit in the middle of the night, it hit fast, hot, and hard. No one could get into the barn or anywhere near it. The trainer was a big name, reputable trainer, I'd guess there were halters and leads available, but this assumes you can actually get into the barn. Just being able to open stall doors and chase horses OUT can help - but only if you can safely get into the barn to start with.
When we put up our barn, we went with a metal barn - it is quite a bit safer, although not as pretty. Our insurance company said the cost to insure metal was 1/2 the price of wood - barn fires are apparently pretty common
Yes, not as pretty, but especially if you are going to have hay in the barn and lots of wiring, metal is safer than wood to give more time. Also good to put in grounding rods in case of lightning strikes, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
I always wonder why more really top barns don't have water fire suppression systems installed.
When we built our new place we built our barns with Dutch doors on the outside for this exactly reason. Then, you don't have to go inside the barn to get the horses and can just let them out the side. Even if you have to let a few loose if you can't get to their halters, it would be better than them burning up!
I wonder how much a fire suppression system would be for a barn?
Well the issue of metal over wood really realates to where you are in the US. Metal barns here in the northeast are like walk in freezers in the winter and ovens in the summer. And fire supression systems here require a system that won't freeze.
I'm sorry for the owners losses - a barn fire is something you just never get over. I'm paranoid everytime a neighbor has a fire in their fireplace and I smell smoke.
Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
"Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"
Just being able to open stall doors and chase horses OUT can help - but only if you can safely get into the barn to start with.
When I was in high school the stable where I boarded my eventer caught fire after dark and several of the horses died because they either panicked and wouldn't leave their stalls or they ran back into the burning barn because that is where they felt safe. I still have nightmares about that night.
This is horrible to hear about!! There but for the grace of God go we.
Many heart felt condolences to owners and trainers.
We did not store any hay upstairs but only due to the huge bales I was using not because we knew better. I will never store hay in the same barn as the horses now though. I will have the wiring checked yearly and a fire inspection from the fire marshal each year too. My barn was metal outside but only because of a mistake on the part of the barn builder. I had wanted wood since it was so much prettier and I thought warmer in the winter. The metal was up when I returned from FL and I did not want my builder to have to spend the extra to replace it (which he offered to at his cost)! I just said OH well it looks nice enough. Thank God I said that because in our recent fire if the barn had been wooden it would not have still been standing now! We would have lost everything too.
Sometimes there is just nothing to be done. My next barn will be stone or brick though!!
Our metal sided pole barn burned very quickly after a lightening strike. My husband was able to get in as we were realized that there was a fire within 15 minutes of the strike, but he only had minutes since the fire was burning so hot. The stall walls were already on fire and the handles had melted and the halters/lead ropes hanging on the stalls were burning. All of the tools were hanging on the back wall which was engulfed in flames. We had several fire extinguishers, but they were absolutely worthless. Our barn was built with dutch doors to each stall, but that would only benefit if the fire was found within 15 minutes of starting. It would also be very difficult to get a horse out the opening with the stall walls framing the door frame burning. It is amazing how fast it happens. The fire department was there within 10 minutes of our call, but there was nothing that they could do.
What a horrible thing to happen. I am glad the German barns are most of the time built with brick. Mine are all stone and still fear when there is a thunderstorm with lots of lightning.
Let the horses out is good to say but to where, the mares, foals, youngsters can all run in the fields not a problem I would think, but what about all the stallions? They cannot run into the fields with the others or we would face terrible fights. That is always my fear.
Well the issue of metal over wood really realates to where you are in the US. Metal barns here in the northeast are like walk in freezers in the winter and ovens in the summer. .
We have a steel Morton barn with an insulated roof; insulating the roof makes all the difference in the world. The temp in the barn is always far better than whatever the outside temp is (i.e., barn is cooler in summer, warmer in winter). Everyone who visits comments on it.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a good smoke detector for a barn? I looked into putting ones in the barn but was told that ordinary barn dust sets them off all the time.
Last edited by YankeeLawyer; Jan. 26, 2009 at 11:43 PM.