It’s the latest tragedy for a mother, father and son, who have endured a medical crisis and military deployment.
Just after midnight with nobody home, the Apthorp’s two-story horse barn bursts into flames trapping their twelve beloved Belgians mighty workhorses that they show at county fairs and use to bring in the hay on neighbors farms.
Six of the majestic animals perished in their stalls - six others were rescued.
A passerby saw the flames and came up to the one story barn where he was able to save three of the horses.
Firefighters had to put blankets over the surviving horses heads to get them out of the fire.
“They didn’t want to leave,” said Fire Chief Scott Hildenbrand. “They wanted to stay in their comfortable stalls - so they had to cover their eyes and lead them out.”
A neighbor’s caring for three of the horses - three others are in an equine hospital.
In the midst of the devastation and death, a welcome sign of life - “Inky” the barn cat survived.
“She’s my buddy I’m glad she made it,” Dorsey Apthorp said.
Apthorp is toting up the losses.
Besides the animals and farm equipment...
She will e-mail the news to her son in Iraq.
Telling her 76-year-old husband, Tom, in hospice care with a brain aneurysm will be a tougher assignment.
“His, the horses are his love,” Apthorp said. “That’s something he remembers and I’m not sure I want to shock him with that today.”
Investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. The chief estimates the loss at $300,000. Neighbors have set up a fund to help the Apthorps.
To help the family recover from this fire, a fund has been set up at First National Bank. Ask for the Apthorp Fire Fund.