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Sheriff investigates horse barn fire as arson

Matthew Weaver
Adams County Sheriff John Hunt is investigating a fire that burned down a horse barn on fairgrounds property as possible arson. No animals or people were present at the time of the fire.

A fire that destroyed a horse barn in a Ritzville, Wash., fairground last week is being as investigated as arson, the sheriff says.

The volunteer fire department responded to the fire in the Wheat Land Communities Fair horse barn between 9 and 9:30 p.m., April 24, Adams County Sheriff John Hunt said.

The building was not being used, Hunt said, and there were no animal or human injuries.

“It’s kind of a devastating sort of a thing,” said Fritz Coon, president of the Wheat Land Communities Fair.

The 20-stall barn was used primarily during the fair, but was available to locate animals during horse clinics for other organizations, including the Ritzville Rodeo Association.

“It made for a real nice facility,” Coon said, noting the building was built by volunteer labor and donations in the late 1980s.

The entire barn was beyond repair, Coon said. It was made of wood except for a metal roof. Straw was stored for bedding in several stalls.

Other supplies stored in the building will also have to be replaced, Coon said.

A nearby arena was undamaged.

Electric service to the building was turned off, Coon said.

Crews were on site until about 2 a.m., Coon said.

The building was insured. Coon expects to go through a replacement process, noting insurance adjusters were on site last week.

“My hope is we have something up and going by then, certainly,” he said.

Hunt said his department is interviewing people and tracking down leads.

Anyone with information about the fire should contact the sheriff’s office at 509-659-1122.

Online

Wheat Land Communities Fair:

http://www.fair.goritzville.com/fair.php

Adams County Sheriff:

http://adamscountysheriffwashington.org



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