Pensioner Ronnie Hehir today appealed for information after a mystery fire killed her two pet goats, destroyed a stable and outbuildings and threatened the life of her pony Tiny.
The pony was rescued from land off Sulby Drive, Ribbleton, by Ronnie’s son Kevin after the alarm was raised around 10pm last night. But it was too late to save goats Dazzle and Treasure.
Tiny has now been temporarily rehomed in the back garden at Ronnie’s home on nearby Sulby Grove in Ribbleton.
Fire crews used two jets to extinguish the blaze at the site which is on land adjoining the motorway and the route of an old railway line.
Ronnie has rented the land for the last 10 years and said: “Everything is gone – it’s flat except for rubbish. The first I knew my son Kevin came and said the stable was on fire. I went down and it was just all blazing.”
The 80 year old said Kevin told her how rainproof plastic coverings on the stable block had started to melt: “The goats were on one side and Tiny on the other. As he came out Tiny followed him but he had to leave the goats. It was too late. It was all flaming – he heard them cry and then they’d gone. I had only had the goats about six weeks. I got them for Tiny for company.”
She continued: “The stables were made out of pallets. It was home made stables, all wood. I don’t know what started it – maybe kids having a smoke. We’ve no idea, but I don’t think it would be people round here that started it. It’s been there 10 years.”
Ronnie said the goats had been helping Tiny, who has been lonely since his companion pony Molly had to be put down after suffering from lammitis: ”Tiny was fretting for Molly so I got them for company.”
Watch manager Chris Wales of Preston fire station said the cause of the blaze is under investigation.
Officers found the wooden stables well alight and other buildings and an emtpy caravan were also destroyed. Another caravan was fire damaged.
Today Ronnie, who is recovering from a heart attack earlier this year, said she wanted to say a special thank you to her son and daughter in law who helped rescue Tiny.
Still shocked about the loss of wooden stables and outbuildings, feed and medical supplies she said: “It kept me going. It gave me something to do during the day I’m going to keep the field on, I’m going to tidy it all up get skips and get rid. I am going to look for some stables where Tiny will have company.”
The lifelong animal lover formerly rented land and had stables at a site off Gamull Lane. Her grandfather kept ponies and she recalled how her father used to sell fruit and vegetables, delivering them by horse and cart round Preston.