Email reports are coming in saying that the Fairfax Hunt’s kennels at Red Hill, near Arcola, here in Loudoun County, have been destroyed today by a sudden and disastrous fire of unknown origin.
Three staff horses and the hound puppies are said to have perished, but apparently many hounds were rescued through a hole cut in the fence.
The Fairfax Hunt meets at fixtures in eastern and western Loudoun County, Virginia, and its pack last year consisted of 31 couple of Crossbred Foxhounds.
What a horrible thing!
Update 3/11, 2:13 PM EDT:
Professional Huntsman Kevin Palmer is reported to have saved 90% of the pack. Some puppies were apparently among the hounds rescued.
And from the Loudoun Times:
By Jason Jacks
Source: Loudoun Times-Mirror
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 2009
UPDATED WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 2009
An early morning blaze tore through a barn and kennel located along a rural road south of Leesburg March 11, killing 16 dogs and three horses.
The fire, which started sometime before 7:15 a.m., occurred at facility used by the Fairfax Hunt club. The facility, which is just off Stone School Lane and a couple miles north of U.S. 50, houses stables and kennels for fox-hunting enthusiasts.
At least 60 animals, mostly dogs, were at the property when the fire broke out.
“It's a sad way for them to go,” said the property's owner, Randolph Rouse, who said among the dead dogs were 10 full-grown hounds and six puppies. The three horses killed where the only horses at the facility at the time of the fire, he said.
The commanding officer on site, Doug Rambo, said the facility was fully engulfed when firefighting units arrived. He described the fire as intense.
“When we got here, we knew we weren't going in,” he said.
As of noon, neighbors and county animal control officials were still rounding up wayward dogs that had fled the property when the fire erupted. At least 40 have so far been located.
Meanwhile, those dogs hurt in the fire were being tended to by teams of veterinarians who had descended on the property.
Several veterinarians could be seen aiding one dog who was covered in dark burn marks.
Responding to the blaze were firefighting units from Arcola, Aldie, Dulles South, Purcellville, Leesburg, Hamilton, Sterling and Middleburg.
No persons were injured. A cause has not yet been determined.
Fox 5 News said an old refridgerator was in the barn. This may have sparked the fire. Remember, of course, this tragedy is still under official investigation. Sadly, 3 horses died in the fire and several Hunting dogs; including puppies. Sincere condolences to the owners.
One of my friends who is a hunt member ,and was at the scene today said they brought in arson detecting dogs,but found no accelerants. I guess that is something. The puppies were under a heat lamp ,so perhaps that was the culprit? Horrible,absolutely horrible. My friend emailed me pictures and they were gruesome. I will probably have nightmares. The horses were in the barn,washed and prepared to hunt this am. If it had been a non hunting day they would have been out in the field. Ugh. it makes my stomach hurt.
We have to thank all the veterinarians, fire companies, neighbors, and friends, and animal rescue, who arrived to help control the fire, treat the injured hounds and round up the hounds which huntsman, Kevin Palmer, was able to free by pulling out and cutting the chain link fence.
We also have to thank the neighboring hunts who have offered to house some of the hounds until we can rebuild, and to allow our members to hunt with them without charging capping fees.
Finally I have nothing but praise for the Palmer family for their quick reaction and heroic response in saving as many of the pack as they did.
I saw on the local tv news that the fire marshall has decided it was the old refrigerator in the barn as the culprit. 3 huntsmans horses are hard to replace and those precious puppies & hounds! . How horrific. Saw pictures of some burned hounds and my heart breaks for them. May we all never have to experience anything like this....ever.
Years ago I leased that barn before FH moved there and know it well. Pretty place. All wood structure. We used to store hay overhead too. It was a horse barn with kennels added.
My sincerest best wishes to our hunting family & friends in the Fairfax Hunt; may they have many great seasons to come!!
Thanks for the link, Jennifer. I'd be interested in more info if anyone can provide it- this appears to be a fundraiser specifically for injured hounds that have gone to rescue because their injuries are such that they can't hunt anymore, which I can well imagine. Is there also any fundraising going on for kennel rebuilding and help with hounds still in kennels? Just looking to see how to most effectively divvy up available contribution money!