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Horses saved, two goats perish in barn fire at Craig Memorial Equestrian Center in Leverett



Saturday, March 21, 2015
LEVERETT — The lives of several horses were saved thanks to a quick-thinking couple who pulled them from a burning barn Friday afternoon.

However, two goats perished when one of several barns at Craig Memorial Equestrian Center, 470 Long Plain Road, caught fire, according to owner Roberta Bryant. The barn, which also contained hay storage and a tack room, is a total loss.

Five horses were saved from the flames by a couple who left as quickly as they came.

“Some bystanders, a man and a woman, saw the fire and started pulling the horses out,” said David Rice, a neighbor and off-duty Greenfield police officer.

“They saved the day, and the horses, and then they just left,” Rice said. “Leverett’s just that kind of community. Everyone takes care of each other.”

Several neighbors, clients and friends of Bryant stopped by to check in on her as firefighters worked to keep the blaze from spreading. Some choked back tears, others offered to help, and many hugged Bryant to comfort her.

“We’re a big family here,” Bryant said. “It’s not a high-class stable. We’re a family stable, where everyone cares about the horses and each other.”

Bryant said she was not sure who helped save her clients’ horses was.

“I don’t know who they were,” she said. “I want to say ‘Thank you so much.’ It means a lot to know that people care that much.”

She has run Craig Memorial for more than 40 years, offering boarding, lessons, trail riding, training and breeding, and hosts a 4H group.

Bryant said she was not sure how the fire started. The unheated barn had electricity, which Bryant said was used for lights only.

Firefighters from Shutesbury, Sunderland, New Salem, Wendell, Pelham and Turners Falls assisted at the scene, while Montague Center firefighters covered the Leverett station. The state Fire Marshal’s Office was called to investigate the fire. The cause was not immediately available.