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Community pitches in to aid Aiken horse rescue after fire destroys barn, supplies

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:06 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Equine Rescue of Aiken caught on fire over the weekend burning the barn to the ground and seriously injuring one horse. The fire broke out on Saturday evening around 7 p.m. sending a smoke cloud high in the air.

The rescue says the fire department was there last night because another fire started up again. Only one horse named Whistle was stuck inside the end stall.

“He was very lucky to get out. She pulled him out of a stall that was completely engulfed in smoke and his shavings were on fire and he was on fire as well,” said Caroline Mulstay, rescue manager at the rescue.

Luckily, Whistle only sustained thermal burns down his back from the heat. His recovery time is not known because those injuries usually take a couple of days to fully form.

“We’ve got a good report from the vet that he’s doing well,” said Mulstay.

As smoke fills the air, it’s been a long couple of days for the equine rescue of Aiken. Now the community is stepping in to help rebuild the barn from the ground up.

“Pitchforks, shovels, brooms, shavings, buckets, you name it, it’s, all gone,” said Mulstay.

$100,000 in medical supplies alone were lost in the fire so the community is lending a helping hand raising almost 25,000 dollars in just two days.

They say the community has really stepped up in this devastating time. Workers and volunteers are trying to pick up the pieces after their barn fire.

“Overwhelming...is the only word I have right now,” she said.

They say that the building that burnt down was the most important because it’s considered the hub of their operation. Everyone starts and ends their day there. This is also where classes and their office were, and they were hoping to get back on track soon.

“Pandemic wise, we were getting close to hosting those again but now we won’t be able to host those until we rebuild,” Mulstay said. “This is just another blow to the organization.”

The rescue says they’re thankful no one got hurt and everything else is replaceable in the barn. They’re now in the planning stages to get back to some sense of normalcy again.

“We’re already starting conversations about what we’re going to be rebuilding next. It’s going to be bigger and better,” she said.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the cause of the fire and where exactly it started. They say it’s been a mess trying to figure out what happened.

There is going to be an auction held on April 24 and 25 where they’re hoping to get more support.

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