Quick thinking, a fast response from local agencies and the cooperative effort of the horse community apparently helped avert a possible tragedy.
A fire on Saturday afternoon at Legacy Stable on Two Notch Road damaged several barns, destroyed offices, tack and hay rooms, but no horses or people were harmed. Fencing in an empty paddock at an adjacent barn and some trees also sustained some damage as a result of the fire.
The blaze started at approximately 2:15 p.m., and took about 30 minutes to get under control, said Capt. David Turno, spokesman for the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
The quick thinking of horsemen at the barn and at adjacent stables, and having a halter and lead shank outside of every stall led to an orderly evacuation of 21 Thoroughbreds, two Quarter Horses and one lead pony. One person was transported to Aiken Regional Medical Centers as a precautionary measure as the smoke inhalation from the fire aggravated his asthma.
The animals were secured quickly, and without incident, said Turno. The horses were brought to nearby barns and paddocks and out of harm's way.
The Legacy Stable staff and other horsemen responded by using fire extinguishers, removing hay from the stalls and helping the responding agencies as much as they could, he said.
Members of the Aiken Department of Public Safety arrived on the scene and quickly got the fire under control. They drew a perimeter around the blaze so it wouldn't cause further damage and approached the conflagration in a diligent manner.
When the responding agency was able to get water established, they were able to get the fire under control.
Public Safety had help from the Aiken County Sheriff's Office in directing traffic away from the scene of the incident.
The fire remains under investigation.