Three horses were killed in a barn fire at hunter/jumper professional Scott Keller’s Townsend Spring Farms in Paris, Kentucky, on April 22. Flames were first spotted in one of the three barns by a working student around 6:30 p.m. They managed to get one of the four horses in the barn out before it started to collapse. The Bourbon County Fire Department responded to the fire, and a spokesperson said investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
“The fire department was here from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. putting it out; it just jumped from one barn to another and kept burning,” said Keller.
Two barns on the property were completely destroyed, as well as a horse trailer parked nearby.
“I’m devastated for the owners of the horses we couldn’t get out,” Keller said. “The emotional loss is so much greater than the actual loss; it’s not measurable.”
Keller has managed his hunter/jumper showing, training and boarding business at the farm for over a decade. Along with competing in grand prix classes and developing young jumpers and hunters Keller retrains and rehomes off-the-track Thoroughbreds. The three horses that died were Olive Twist, “Huey,” a client’s children’s hunter; Ruggiero, “Reggie,”
one of Keller’s Thoroughbred projects; and Linkin, Keller’s daughter Audrey Keller’s equitation horse.
The evening of the fire the surviving horses were taken to Legacy Springs Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, where trainer Ben Tucker put them up for the night. Scott said amateur show jumper Teri Kessler has offered her barn to house his surviving horses long term while he makes plans to rebuild. In addition to the loss of the barns and trailer, Scott lost all of his tack, trunks and equipment.