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Posted December 9, 2010 | comments 1 Comment

Fire sweeps through stables

No people or animals injured; part of building destroyed as roof collaspes

By Alex Bridges - abridges@nvdaily.com

BERRYVILLE -- Fire destroyed part of a building used as stables on a large Clarke County farm Wednesday morning.

Clarke County emergency dispatchers received a call at 8:57 a.m. for a report of a structure fire on Springsbury Farm Lane. Firefighters responded and saw smoke and flames coming from the building that contained former stables.

An hour later, firefighters continued to spray water on the blaze and smoke billowed from the building. Crews had extinguished much of the fire by 10:30 a.m. and searched for hot spots, breaking through parts of the roof in an effort to further quell the blaze. A section of the structure's roof had collapsed by then, and it continued to burn.

An employee with a contractor working at a house on the property saw smoke and called 911.

"We was working out at the main house ... then we was leaving and I seen a little bit of smoke so we come back, and down around here you don't have no cell phone service," Brad Broy, with Broy & Son Pump Service, said later that morning. "Yeah, I had to drive to the top of the hill to get to call for help. By time we come back it had got way outta hand."

No animals were in the building at the time, Broy said, but workers with contractors at the site did save a couple of small farm vehicles from damage.

Rehabilitation and renovations to the entire building were completed in the summer, according to Chris Tranchitella, with Tranco Farms Inc., a Leesburg agricultural services firm managing the property.

Casey Trees owns the 750-acre property. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group, established by the property's former owner, Betty Brown Casey, uses the land to grow trees for transplanting to urban areas, Tranchitella said. He noted the property also had been used to raise and train race horses.

Tranchitella noted the fire did not appear to have spread too far.

"I hope we will find out why it started," Tranchitella said.

Crews responded from John H. Enders, Boyce, Blue Ridge, Shenandoah Farms and Mount Weather fire and rescue companies in Clarke County; Greenwood and Millwood in Frederick County; Friendship in Winchester; Round Hill in Loudoun County; and Citizens and Independence in Charles Town and Ranson, W.Va., respectively.

The last crew left the scene at approximately 1:45 p.m., according to a dispatcher.
Many of the firefighters who battled Wednesday's blaze had worked for hours late Tuesday and early Wednesday to extinguish a fire in Boyce.

That fire caused major damage to a house at 16 E. Sharon Drive, officials said.

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