Barn fire kills 12 horses outside Lincoln

Fund set up to help property owners recover financial loss
By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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A fund has been set up for those wishing to help Doug Ingersoll recover some of the financial loss suffered during Friday’s barn fire. An early Friday morning fire in the Ingersolls’ barn just outside Lincoln killed 12 horses and destroyed the barn, according to Chelsea Fox, a Cal Fire spokeswoman. “All indications point to an electrical fire in the tack room,” Fox said Thursday. That conclusion marks the end of Cal Fire’s investigation, Fox said. “It’s overwhelming,” said Debbie Ingersoll, Doug Ingersoll’s wife, on Tuesday. She said that the most heart-wrenching loss was of the 12 horses, both to them and their clients, adding, “Their loss is our loss.” In addition to the horses, Ingersoll’s tack room was destroyed. “His tack room had 40 years of bits and tack,” Ingersoll said. “They’re treasures to us. We’re slowly mending and healing each other through this process. You have to go forward. We go forward with our hearts a bit heavy.” Damages to the barn alone are estimated at $250,000, Fox said, adding that there is currently no dollar amount estimated to the loss of the horses. Friday’s fire was reported by a neighbor at approximately 2:45 a.m., Fox said, and occurred at the Doug Ingersoll Training Stables at 2499 McCourtney Road near Fruitvale Road. “The first engine on scene reported that the structure was fully involved,” Fox said, “and called for more resources.” Units from Lincoln, Placer County and Penryn responded, Fox said, with 30 firefighters containing the fire by 5 a.m. Friday. “We sent an engine and a water tender,” said Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt. “We went out there on a mutual aid call to help them out.” Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to any other buildings, Fox said. The cause of the blaze at the 4,000 square-foot barn was still under investigation, as of press time. Anyone wishing to donate to the Ingersoll fund can do so at any Bank of America branch in the country, said Deb Shatley, a friend of the Ingersolls. The Doug and Debbie Ingersoll Fire Fund’s account number is 08829-70156. “This is his business,” Shatley said. “It’s his livelihood. They’ve been in the training business for 24 years in Lincoln and are well-known and respected for the quality of their cutting, reining and working cowhorse.” Shatley said the Ingersolls have deep roots in the community, as their daughters attended school here, graduating from Lincoln High School. The 12 horses represented nine different owners, with one of the horses being the Ingersolls’ own, according to Shatley. A second barn on the property, that houses eight horses, wasn’t damaged. “They loved those horses and the owners loved those horses,” Shatley said. “They had a bond with the horses and friendships with the owners. That’s the relationship they’ve had in this community. They have a reputation of really taking care of their animals.” Jerry Anders, a friend and former client of Ingersoll’s, said he took an instant liking to Ingersoll when he first met him years ago as a trainer. “In my opinion,” Anders said, “you couldn’t ask for a better trainer. This is one of the worst things that could happen.” Since the day of the fire, help has come from a variety of sources, Shatley said. A friend from Oregon drove down with equipment and tack, as Ingersoll’s was lost in the fire. A tractor was donated for the cleanup efforts Tuesday morning, and friends from all around have driven out to the property to offer their help. “The horse community as a whole, we totally understand,” Shatley said. “There’s a deep bond in the horse community. We were all devastated. You can rebuild the barn but you can’t replace the horses. Those weren’t just animals in that barn,” Shatley said. “The Ingersolls loved those horses.” The horses, Ingersoll said, were like family members. Debbie Ingersoll said the family will move forward. “You come out in a year, and we’ll be back,” she said. “There’s a saying that when you get bucked off a horse, you have to get up and get back on.” Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at