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Phyllis Dawson barn fire

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  • Phyllis Dawson barn fire

    As some of you may have heard, Phyllis Dawson's barn was hit by lightning on Tuesday afternoon and burned to the ground. It was a total loss. We were able to get all horses and people out safely. Her boarder barn and indoor were unharmed. We got alot of stuff out of the barn but she lost a ton of equipment and supplies. We have farmed out all the horses to local friends and barns and Phyllis is in the process of trying to figure out where to start with temporary arrangements. She will have to totally replace everything from blankets, meds, grooming supplies, cleaning equipment, you name it, it is gone. No idea yet as to how much the insurance will cover but probably not much of the "stuff", mostly just the barn or part of it.

    Anything anyone wants to donate to help would be greatly appreciated. I live in Leesburg and have a barn in Lucketts and am happy to be a focal point if anyone wants to help in any way. I can be contacted via email at sewwhatdb@verizon.net. Thanks

  • #2
    Oh, how awful. What a relief that the horses and people are all OK. Sending you an email.
    Taco Blog
    *T3DE 2010 Pact*


    • #3
      That is terrible. One of my secret dreams has always been to run off and be a working student for her! (Oops, guess it's not secret anymore.)

      Glad everyone got out okay.


      • #4
        Thanks Debbie!

        I purchased Phyllis' Advanced horse Half Magic from her but he passed away earlier this year. I already offered to her to return all his stuff - blankets, saddles, bridles, bits, etc. - some of it came with him (like his saddle) and some of it I got in the 7 years I had him - but I'm sure Magic would want it to all go home to her! If you think of anything else - count me in!



        • #5
          Oh, My....I'm so sorry. On Friday 13 two years ago, I went to her barn to try out a horse that I then bought. I LOVED her place, and I, too, have a secret desire to be a working student of hers (but I might be too old...). What a nice person, and what a good person.

          I'll email, too. I'm in TX, but I would like to help out. Sending good thoughts her way....
          --Becky in TX
          Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
          She who throws dirt is losing ground.


          • #6
            where do I send stuff?

            well I should have checked out the website first.
            don't have any leftover $ cause of diesel and feed costs, but do have a lot of blankets/tack/barn items from my deceased TB mare Callie and from Cloudy having too much stuff. especially those 2 fly sheets that we've never used and his taka turnout, size 78, since we just ordered on the 1/2 price, someone please post this, smartpak has 1/2 price taka turnouts, it's 93 here today and humid, but cannot pass that up.
            so some of our stuff is cold weather, but I have some extra tack and all too.
            will now check web site as I should have done to begin with.
            glad all the horses got out!!!!
            was the building/tack insured?


            • #7
              Wow, that is terrible!

              My hubby informs me that often insurance covers more than what the building is actually worth and it often does include stuff within it. We had a building collapse and got a good amount (read: GOOD GOOD amount ...) from insurance. So ... here's to hoping that the donations aren't necessary and insurance will be plenty for her.


              • #8
                Oh my! How scary! Glad all humans and equines are safe, though!

                We will be doing a big "house" cleaning in the near future, and I can start sooner than later. When things settle a bit a list of what all is needed will come in very handy. I have a lot of odd things that could be far more useful somewhere else rather than getting dusty in the loft.

                Also, don't know if it is needed, but I have one empty stall and could kick out one more horse if horses are in need of stalls. We're in Leesburg.


                • #9
                  Details of barn fire

                  I'm a boarder with Phyllis; Bittersweet3 is one of the folks who pitched in. Here's what I learned yesterday and today.

                  On Tuesday, about 4:15pm, the working students had finished barn chores, and were starting to feed the 17 horses in Phyllis' barn.

                  The barn routine continued despite a storm -- heavy rain and wind, lightening, hail the size of pennies. Suddenly, a tremendous crack -- lightening had struck the barn (they think the cupola). The students' ears rang; one girl, touching metal, got shocked. At first, they thought the smell was burning wiring -- then realized that the barn roof was on fire...and with it, the hay loft.

                  The students worked furiously to get horses out. And everyone on the place pitched in -- even two girls there to interview for the working student program. Most of the horses cooperated, but three panicked, not wanting to leave their stalls. The stallion whirled, stomping, running wildly: he was only caught by the skill of the barn manager -- and luck. To save a truck and trailer, Phyllis drove it away from the burning structure....while leading a mare with her two-week old foal scampering alongside. By the time they got the last horse out, smoke was so heavy they couldn't distinguish head from tail.

                  They went back to save tack -- saddles and bridles stored in the loft; the barn manager grabbed files -- critical health records. They snatched what photos they could -- memorabilia from 22 years. But they couldn't find the barn cat -- who often hunted in the loft.

                  When the shavings pile caught fire, flames threatened to jump 40 feet and ignite a second barn, housing 30 horses. But those were also led to safety. Fire fighters had come from six jurisdictions; pumping water from the lake, they trained their hoses on the burning barn while dousing the second structure, saving the boarder barn.

                  What they lost: a well-designed barn, saddles, winter blankets, medicines, hay, all the stuff for the breeding program. But no people got hurt. No horses died -- and the barn cat wandered back hours later, complaining loudly. It was a remarkable effort by people who love horses -- who acted quickly, instinctively. The horses can't express their gratitude. So -- on behalf of the horses -- on behalf of Sirius and her foal and Bounce and Expedience, on behalf of Lizzie and and all the others, thank you, Windchase.


                  • #10
                    How horrible.....like it's been said before, thankfully no life was lost!!

                    A few years back we emailed and she was such a wonderful and helpful person. I wish her the best!!
                    Fox Call Farm
                    Berryville, VA


                    • #11
                      Gosh, that is just terrible ... What luck and hard work to get everyone out safely. Just wow.


                      • #12
                        Hi all -
                        I am a working student here at Windchase and also want to extend gratitude to everyone who has offered their help and assistance after this tragedy! We are all just so grateful that nobody was hurt. Phyllis is such an amazing person, being a WS here feels like such a privelage and walking out to the barn in the morning and seeing the skeleton of such a happy home just makes me want to cry. But we are moving forward, trying to figure out how to get things back to where we can operate on a day to day basis. Thanks to all of you who are sending out your good thoughts!!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by VAevent View Post
                          What they lost: a well-designed barn, saddles, winter blankets, medicines, hay, all the stuff for the breeding program. But no people got hurt. No horses died
                          What a miracle and what hard work/effort that everyone there put in that no horses, humans or cats where hurt. I am glad for that, but so sorry for their losses.

                          That was a wicked and very scary storm that was the first time in 3+ years that I headed for our basement

                          If Windchase needs any help with collections, breeding stuff I will be more then happy to help, please let Phyllis know that. We have collected for them before, they where great to work with and I helped them set up their breeding lab, mount, etc. many years ago. Anything I can do I will
                          Liz Hall silverwoodfarm.com Warmblood Pintos


                          • #14
                            I board at a big eventing facility. I've put feelers out to "see" (because I can't imagine why we couldn't) if we can do an equipment drive to help replace some of the stuff that Windchase lost.
                            I evented just for the Halibut.


                            • #15
                              thoughts are with you

                              i am so glad all of you are safe. i lost everything to a house fire 4 yrs ago. it's a devastating feel. also a bad way to get rid of that stuff that collects.
                              i am sure i have stuff to send. i am on the eastern shore in chestertown so if anyone over here would like to donate stuff,, pm mail and i will arrange a way to get it over to phyllis..


                              • #16
                                Can those of you working in the barn let us know who she uses for suppliers for barn supplies, blankets, tack, supplements etc so if we wanted to send a gift certificate her way, it would be to a company she currently uses?

                                Joan from Flatlands
                                Joan Davis


                                • #17
                                  Thanks all - we are currently working on getting temporary stabling so that we can get all of the horses back here at home to continue training/showing etc. I think Phyllis nearly has something worked out for it, or at least will tomorrow, but I'm sure once we are able to set up the temporary stalls we are going to need feed & water buckets, clips and snaps etc. (all those little random things!)
                                  I know Phyllis is really appreciative of everyone's well wishes and is also overwhelmed with things that need to be done, calls to make, orders to put in etc. Debbie, as she mentioned in the original post, is doing a great job of fielding donations and volunteers etc. so please do try and get in touch with her about donations etc.
                                  Hopefully by tomorrow we will have power back to the boarder barn and can run the well without using the generator. For the meantime though, all of the horses have a roof over their heads, food to eat and water to drink. Us working students are a bit on the exhausted side but so happy that in the end, all will be ok. :-)


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by NeverTime View Post
                                    I board at a big eventing facility. I've put feelers out to "see" (because I can't imagine why we couldn't) if we can do an equipment drive to help replace some of the stuff that Windchase lost.
                                    Nevertime....let me know, I'm thinking of making a run down to Leesburg next weekend and can take anything you collect with me.
                                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                                    • #19
                                      Will do. thanks!
                                      I evented just for the Halibut.


                                      • #20
                                        This is such a shame to hear about, I wish there was some way for me to help but I think all I am good for are well wishes. I volunteer at a few different shows in Area II and Phyllis and her students are always around, and always pleasant. I am thrilled to hear that at least the horses got out safe, kudos to those that kept their wits about them!
                                        Katie Ruppel & Yellow Rose Eventing *Website* & *Facebook*
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