Family continues rescue work despite fire that damaged home
June 15, 2007
A fire that devastated her home didn’t keep Shirley Allen from taking in another orphan foal.
Petey, a foal suffering from an abscess on his hindquarters, is sharing space with Ozzie, a colt rescued after a stallion attack it in the Virginia City Highlands in April.
Ozzie, a black colt, was living in Allen’s bedroom, just like 10 colts before him, while he healed from injuries sustained when the stallion of his herd stomped him. But for now, Petey and the Allens are not able to stay in the home.
The two-story, split-level home where Allen lives with her husband, Bruce, several dogs and cats, and whatever foal is in need of care, caught fire on June 9, likely caused by an unknown electrical problem, Allen said.
“We all got moved out,” she said.
Petey came to her a few days ago, when a woman from Fernley brought him down to her.
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The woman was riding her horse east of the Virginia City Highlands, Allen said, when she came upon the foal, suffering from an abscess and unable to get up.
“The abscess is why he couldn’t keep up with the herd,” she said. “She found him and he was down, and it was getting dark so she took him home. Because if they’re down after dark, they’re dead.”
The colt, about 6 weeks old now, is a brown and white paint, and is being treated for his abscess with topical medications.
He and Ozzie will be friends, but it’s taking awhile, she said.
“He wasn’t real happy at first, but this morning they were running and bucking,” she said. “Pretty soon they’ll be buddies.”
Ozzie has already been adopted, but can’t be moved until he puts on some weight.
“He is about a month behind because of his old injuries,” she said. “He’ll be going home about the end of July or the beginning of August. We need to make sure he’s good and healthy.”
When she first heard her fire alarm, she said she didn’t know where her tiny Yorkshire terrier, Benin, was, and went back in the house to get him.
“I was calling for Bennie and calling 911 and some guy yelled, ‘I got him, I got him, please get out of there,'” she said.
Her three cats got out, but disappeared for several days.
The fire started in the computer area upstairs, she said.
“From the sounds that I heard when it started, something exploded,” she said. “It could have been the monitor or any of the components.”
She tried fighting the fire with a garden hose until the firefighters arrived, but said the smoke was down to three inches above the floor.
Firefighters from five counties showed up to fight the fire.
“They are phenomenal people and I don’t even have the words to describe them,” she said.
The firefighters helped save most of the Allens clothing by emptying the closets, putting the clothes on the bed in the downstairs bedroom and covering it all with a tarp.
Allen said most of the house will be torn down, though it’s possible the lower part of the home can be saved. Nearly all of the home’s contents are ruined.
“There’s no fire damage downstairs but there is water damage,” she said. “The house is not livable. The back side is totally gone.”
For now, home is a small travel trailer in the driveway, but they hope their home will be rebuilt in six to eight months.
Meanwhile neighbors and even strangers have brought things to help.
“There’s no words to say how we feel and how thankful we are to be in this community,” she said.
Her family photos were downstairs and could be saved, but many other things were lost, most importantly contact information for her horse rescue activities.
“All my adoption stuff, all my address books, contacts were totally burned.
There are two adult horses that are adopted, but not yet in their new homes. She also has two geldings – one a yearling – and several mares available, in addition to Petey.
The safety of the horses was a huge relief to Allen.
“For two days I kept going to the corral and counting heads, and it didn’t even get close to the corral,” she said. “God was riding on my shoulders.”
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.
You can help
If you have done business with Shirley Allen and Least Resistance Training Concepts, e-mail your name, phone number and address to her at sallen5954 @earthlink.net.