A devastating early morning fire on Feb. 21 burned down the barn of the Valley Vet Clinic in Monroe County, killing five horses and a cow.
A 911 call reporting the fire came in by a passerby to the clinic just after 11:30 p.m. Within 15 minutes the Union Fire Department was on the scene and the barn was burning so quickly there was nothing that could be done to save the animals. An hour later the barn was completely burned down.
As reported in the West Virginia Daily News, Dr. Amy Wasalaski had been in the barn checking on things at 11 p.m. Some time after that, a sheriff drove by and did not notice anything at that time. Union Fire Chief Larry Dunbar stated that the barn having hay and dust led it to burn so rapidly. In addition to Union, fire fighters from Ronceverte, Lindside, Alderson and Tri-County participated in fighting the wind-assisted blaze.
Wasalaski is quoted as saying that the community has been very supportive, including the owners of the animals lost. She says, “This has been a life-changing event. I don’t know if I’ll rebuild the barn or not, it’s just life-changing.” Four of the animals killed belonged to her.
Four days later on Tuesday, an accidental house fire in Maxwelton closed Route 219 North as fire fighters spent several hours putting out the burning home. The home is obviously destroyed; but there are no reported injuries. The displaced family is being assisted by the American Red Cross.
The exact cause of either fire has not been determined at this time.