ELLSWORTH — Owners of a McLean County stable are trying to rebuild after a Saturday night fire claimed their barn and the lives of several horses.
Derek Young, assistant chief of the Ellsworth Fire Protection District, said crews were dispatched to the fire at 10:22 pm in the 25000 block of East 1400 North Road.
He said a 14-foot-tall barn with horse stables on one side was fully involved in fire when they arrived.
Firefighters defensively fought the blaze from the outside, he said, and worked at the scene for six hours in total.
Young said it was a challenge working at the scene in cold temperatures with a limited amount of space in the driveway. He added over a dozen fire engines and trucks responded.
Additionally, northward winds reduced visibility for crews, the chief said. They had to fight the fire facing the south.
No residents or firefighters were hurt, however, Young said several horses died. He also said a couple of cats are missing.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Ellsworth firefighters were assisted by firefighting agencies from LeRoy, Downs, Towanda, Cooksville, Colfax, Saybrook-Arrowsmith, plus LeRoy Ambulance and Gibson City ambulance.
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Associates of the horse owners are gathering funds for the barn owners to help rebuild and cover veterinary costs. A GoFundMe page titled “Kristy Doyle Barn Fire” has been created, with over $14,000 donated as of Sunday evening.
The Illinois Paint Horses Association’s Jerry Wyrick is also forwarding donations. Money can be mailed to Wyrick’s address at 12336 N. 2850 East Road, Ellsworth, IL 61737. People can also send payments via PayPal to Treasurer@illinoispainthorse.com.
Twelve horses died due to the fire, according to IPHA. One survived and has good prognosis at the University of Illinois Veterinary Hospital.
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Contact Brendan Denison at (309) 820-3238. Follow Brendan Denison on Twitter: @BrendanDenison