A Langley senior was severely injured when she tried to save six horses from a sudden fire at a local horse boarding facility.
Sandy Herring lived above the barn and rushed downstairs when she smelled smoke to open the stalls for the horses. Unfortunately, the second stall wouldn’t budge, and the barn collapsed on top of her and the horse still inside. Herring suffered severe burns to her back and face, and the horse was found dead among the rubble.
It’s believed one of the horses in a stall Herring opened hadn’t made it out of the barn in time.
Four of the six horses in the barn, however, were saved thanks to Herring’s efforts.
Three additional horses in a nearby outbuilding were unharmed, and have been relocated temporarily to the neighbour’s property.
Herring’s daughter, Stacey, also suffered burns to her face.
North Otter resident and longtime friend Krystle Mende set up an online fundraiser to support the mother and daughter team.
“They aren’t covered for the loss of revenue. I’m sure insurance eventually will rebuild the barn, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to provide for them or reimburse all the hay, the tools, and everything else that they lost,” Mende explained.
Mende met Herring 18 years ago when she brought one of her horses to her boarding facility.
“She’s just absolutely phenomenal, a sweet, little old lady. She always finds a spot [for my horses]… she just takes care of the horses like they’re her own – she’s like everyone’s grandma,” she said.
A goal of $20,000 was decided as a starting point while Herring is still in hospital receiving treatment for her injuries. As of Wednesday morning (Sept. 20), it had just under $15,000 raised.
Mende added that a fund has also been set up at Country Feeds in Langley as an alternative to the online fundraiser.
“People can phone the feed store and [ask] to put a bag of grain on [Herring’s] account,” she said, noting that it applies to tools and other items as well.
“There are still horses at the farm that need to be cared for,” Mende said.
Mende sends her thanks to the community for its support so far.
“It’s really heartwarming that everyone has come together and has helped somebody in the community,” she concluded.
Online donations can be made at gofundme.com, and funds will go directly to Stacey.
The Langley Township fire department responded to calls of a barn fire around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, on 3rd Avenue east of 216th Street – close to the Canada-U.S. border.
Assistant fire chief Dale Steeple said one person was treated for injuries at the scene, Stacey Herring, and one had to be transported to hospital by air ambulance.
Crews arrived to find the barn fully engulfed by fire, and it took several hours to put it out.
“Crews were on scene quite a while waiting for the gas to be shut off in order to fully extinguish the fire,” Steeple said, noting about 35 firefighters and three engines responded, and water was transported to the site by tender trucks.
The fire destroyed the barn, at least four vehicles, and a hauling trailer near the structure.
READ MORE: Two injured in Langley barn fire