By Judy Sheridan
Four horses burned to death locked in their stalls March 10 when a fire of undetermined cause engulfed a 60-year old wood frame barn in the 6500 block of Bear Creek Road south of Annetta South.
Aledo Fire Chief Morris Leondar said the horses were dead and the barn had collapsed when firefighters arrived.
“It was completely gone,” he said. “A few flames were coming from under the metal roof. It took us a couple, three hours to put out all the hot spots.”
Betty Parker, of Reilly Brothers Property Company, which manages the 20-30 acre tract the barn was located on, said the land is owned by a partnership that includes Bear Creek 4011 LP and corporate general partner BAYR Bear Creek LLC.
The tenant family who lives in the house on the property raised the horses from colts, she said, and is heartbroken over their loss.
The family was at church when the fire started, she said.
Leondar said the fire was called in by a motorist who was unsure of its location, and it took some time to pinpoint the site, in the southernmost part of the fire district.
The call came in at 2:12 p.m., according to Parker County Fire Marshal Frank Watson, and firefighters, from departments in Aledo, Willow Park, Hudson Oaks and Cresson, began arriving at 2:31 p.m.
Watson said the high winds — some 20 to 36 miles per hour — did not carry the fire to hogs and chickens penned within 100 feet of the barn.
“The winds were blowing in the other direction,” he said, “but we were extremely worried and were being cautious about a grass fire breaking out.”
Watson said the fire’s cause will likely remain undetermined because so little of the structure remains.
“From just talking to neighbors and those on the first arriving engine, I think the barn was fully involved before anyone called,” he said.