A Christmas Eve fire at Fair Hill Training Center in Fair Hill, Maryland, destroyed a veterinary clinic and the barn of racing trainer and former Olympic show jumper Michael Matz. No people or horses were injured in the fire.
Matz and his horses had already moved to Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida, for the winter, according to the Paulick Report, while Equine Veterinary Care, which shared the barn, had closed at 4 p.m. for the holiday.
“We appear to have lost everything, but fortunately no horses or people were involved,” Dr. Kathleen Anderson, owner of the outpatient clinic, told Paulick Report. “There was a lot of diagnostic equipment: X-rays, ultrasound, the pharmacy, plus medical records.”
The fire did an estimated $850,000 worth of damage to the 75-by-100-foot barn, according to initial estimates from the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Matz, who typically returns north with his stable in March, said he hadn’t yet gotten the details needed to plan for that.
“I haven’t heard from anybody yet about it; I just saw pictures. Because it was over the holiday … we don’t know the situation yet,” he said Monday. “We’re just glad no people or horses were hurt.”
The blaze started around 6:40 p.m. and appeared to have started inside the veterinary clinic, although an exact cause has yet to be determined, according to the state fire marshal. It took about 50 firefighters almost two hours to control the fire, officials said. The barn was not equipped with a sprinkler system, they told the Cecil Whig newspaper.
Matz was a member of three U.S. Olympic show jumping teams and part of the gold-medal-winning team at the 1986 World Championships in Aachen, Germany. In horse racing, he is best known as the trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags.