Lebanon Raceway Fire

December 5, 2009 by  

Lebanon Raceway Fire:LEBANON  Officials have recovered a second body after a barn fire at Lebanon Raceway this morning, and approximately 60 race horses are dead at the Warren County Fairgrounds.

The fire raced through the 250-by-80 ft. structure this morning at 665 North Broadway St., in Lebanon.

Two workers at the raceway were reported in the barn at the time of the fire. The two workers are confirmed dead.

One victim is an adult male, but the second victim’s sex and age is not known at this time.

“It’s bad. It is really really bad,” said Shane Cartmill, spokesperson for the division of State Fire Marshal.

The barn, one of 19 at the raceway, was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived about 5 a.m. The barn has the capacity to house about 80 horses.

Cartmill said the number of perished animals ranks up there with one of the most tragic animal loses in a single incident in the state’s history but it is not the worst.

He cited a Northern Ohio fire about a year ago that killed roughly 100 head of cattle.
Still Cartmill was shaken by the scene and said the loss of animal life and human life in the same incident is very uncommon.

Just before noon– some seven hours after the fire was reported a steady stream of smoke wafted over the heap of metal and burned horses. Many horse owners and workers stood nearby shaking their heads in sadness.

“This is a great loss,” said Jackie Winn, 49, a horse groomer here for about six years. Winn said he arrived at a barn — one of dozens here — around 4:45 a.m to feed the horses. At around 5 a.m. he heard all the commotion as fire trucks from 11 departments raced onto the scene. He down the hill to the barn which was fully engulfed but was stopped by fire crews. Winn believes his two friends were killed.

“I am going to miss them,” Winn said “They are the only friends I have around here.”
The threesome’s bond he said was unshakable: If someone needed a clean towel, one was provider. Some food? They always shared, Winn said.

“We stuck together,” he said “They were two of the best friends I ever had. I just don’t know how I’m going to be able to go on without them.”

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