Three horses at a livery yard in Chingford were led to safety by a camp site hero after two suspicious fires broke out at night
Three horses had to be rescued in the middle of the night when a fire broke out in a stables neighbouring the Gilwell Park Scout Associations’ campsite in Chingford, Essex, recently.
Three members of the Gilwell International Camp Volunteers were returning from a night out in London when they spotted flames in the stables, which are located next to the driveway leading in to the camp.
They raised the alarm and the fire brigade called camp site assistant manager, Ali Ruby on arrival.
It is believed that the fire started in the woodshavings and hay stored under a tarpaulin. This incident was followed by a second, smaller fire which was close to the stables.
Yard owner Margaret Peters said: “The three horses are liveries and were all stabled when the fire hit the feed room.
“All my stables open out on to tiny yards, so the horses can always be let out easily. I knew nothing about the fire until the horse owners arrived the next day and I saw the stable block was badly damaged – I only live 150 yards away.
“This area is a favourite haunt for couples and some smoke outside the gate. I don’t know what happened, but it was the hottest day of the year.
“The fire is being investigated by thepolice and fire bridge, who have said the fire was of ‘unknown origin’.
“Since the fire, I have put up a ‘No smoking, No naked flames’ sign at the stables, but the notice has now been stolen.”
Assistant camp site manager Ali Ruby said: “On the night of the fire, the firefighters were keeping an eye on the horses and when the situation was under control, they asked if anyone had experience of handling horses and led me to a safe route to access the horses.
“At first I tried to get a bridle on one of the horses, but couldn’t, so I went into the stable to calm the horse down. I managed to grab the mane of the horse, opened the door and led it out to the adjacent field.
“I got the second horse out with a rope and just led it away from the stables and the smoke. The third horse was fine, it wasn’t near the smoke or flames.
“All the horses were all alright, but I wouldn’t want to have to do it again.”
Horse owner, Mandy Peters said: “The first thing I knew about the fire was when I turned up in the morning as usual to put my horse out. It was such a shock – one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever experienced.
“If Ali hadn’t got my horse out, it wouldn’t be alive because my horse was next to the tack room where the fire started.
“Everything in the tack room was destroyed. This second smaller fire has scared us because at first we thought it was an accident, but now we are wondering if it was deliberate.”
Mandy Peters is appealing for anyone who knows of any other fires in stables to contact her on (tel: 07951 576426).
One horse has left the stables since the first fire.
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