2 dead in barn fire at Ohio county fairgrounds

A fire ripped through a horse barn at a county fairgrounds

Saturday in southwest Ohio, killing two men and 43 horses,

authorities said.

The barn roof had already collapsed by the time firefighters

arrived at the Warren County Fairgrounds, about 25 miles northeast

of Cincinnati, according to Capt. Krista Wyatt of the Lebanon Fire

Department. The fire was reported about 5 a.m.

The bodies of the men were pulled from the barn and were badly

burned, said Shane Cartmill, a spokesman for the Ohio State Fire

Marshal. Officials were trying to identify the men Saturday

afternoon.

Lamar Moody, lead trainer at Lebanon Raceway, a harness racing

track based at the fairgrounds, said two of his employees were not

accounted for.

No one was supposed to be in the stables overnight and it was

not clear if the two men killed were working early or sleeping in

the barn.

“There was a sign on the building that said people we not

supposed to sleep in there,” said Victor Gray, a Lebanon resident

who lost three horses in the fire.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation, but state fire

investigators say they have ruled out criminal intent.

Horse owners stood stunned as they watched heavy machinery peal

back the metal roof of the collapsed structure so firefighters

could sift through the debris and extinguish what remained of the

blaze. The barn was about the length of a football field.

In 1988, a fire in a similar part of the county-owned racetrack

and fairgrounds killed 35 horses. No one was killed in that

fire.

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