Family distraught after Hatfield Heath stable fire kills pony

PUBLISHED: 09:08 24 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:08 24 March 2016

Fire at Stable

Fire at Stable

Archant

A distraught horse owner described how a pony died when a stable caught fire in Hatfield Heath.

Debris seen from the stableDebris seen from the stable

The horrific blaze at The Three Chestnuts in Dunmow Road began in the early hours of Monday (March 21).

As well as killing the white pony Bounty, the raging inferno completely destroyed three buildings. These included two sheds used for storing blankets, feed and jumps. They were burnt to the ground and all contents destroyed.

Another horse was found with its blanket burning on its back but was saved by firefighters hosing it down with water when they reached the site. Five other horses were rescued by the firefighters called to the scene.

Tearful owner Elaine Wallace said: “Bounty was a lovely little pony, everyone loved him. He must have tried to get out of the stable but he panicked and went further into the fire and got trapped.

“If he had turned the other way, he could have escaped into the yard.”

A vet attended three horses at the scene. Mrs Wallace who lives in High Roding, knew nothing about the fire until dawn broke.

Both she and her daughter Katherine take part in national 
dressage events and Mrs Wallace gives riding lessons.

Surveying the scene of devastation on Monday morning, she said: “I had left my phone in the kitchen. Katherine and I were working in the stable until 9.30pm the night before so we were fast asleep when the fire broke out. We had fed the horses and put them in their rugs. When I woke up a neighbour told me: ‘Everyone’s been trying to get hold of you. You’ve had a fire and you’ve lost one of your horses.’”

The alarm was raised by Lyn and Ian Finn, who live near the stable.

Mrs Finn said: “I always sleep with the window open. I heard this crackling and I said, it’s raining really heavily, then I looked out and saw there was no rain and realised that something was alight.

“We didn’t know what it was, it could have been an accident on the road. My husband dialled 999 from the bedroom and then when we got outside, we could hear the horses banging on the doors, so we called again to say there were horses in there.”

Mr Finn said: “There were three appliances. I’ve never seen people work as hard in all my life. They were running, I’ve never seen people work like it. They started using water from the engine and it was difficult for them because the hydrant was a long way down the road. They were very quick and very efficient.”

A fire service spokesman said appliances from Old Harlow, Sawbridgeworth and Leaden Roden attended. The fire was out by 6am but firefighters stayed until 10am damping down the embers. Police and fire investigators are examining what may have caused the blaze.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Essex Police on 101 or give information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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