Barn Destroyed by Fire
A local family is in some need of assistance after a fire quickly and completely destroyed their barn on Thursday, January 21. Though the fire did not spread to their home, Kristen Ibrahim and her family are working to find food and other necessities for their horses, who survived the fire but have been left with nothing.
Kristen, along with her husband James and children, have lived in Reader for approximately two years. The family is from Cuddy, Pennsylvania but moved to Reader due to Kristen’s husband, James, who is Army Active Guard Reserves. Kristen says James was stationed to the unit in New Martinsville.
Kristen said the family is not 100 percent sure how the fire started, but her husband was standing on the porch at the house when “he saw a spotlight on the front of the barn spark.”
“Not even a minute after that he saw the flames start,” Kristen said, noting that her husband just quickly put on her (Kristen’s) slippers before running to the barn to rescue the horses.
Kristen said the Ibrahims have a six-month-old colt that has access to go in and out of the barn.
The other four horses had access to one stall on the other side.
The Ibrahims’ gelding, Nugget, had to be taken out of the barn.
“I guess he got scared and kicked my husband,” Kristen said, adding that her husband is not fond of horses to begin with.
Furthermore, James had to lead the colt out of the barn.
“He’s been here since he was a week old,” Kristen said of the colt, who, a week later, wanders over to where its former barn stood.
The family’s loss is monumental. Kristen said several sentimental items were destroyed in the blaze, including crocheted baby blankets, photos, and Christmas and seasonal decorations that had been passed down from Kristen’s grandmother.
“I had bird cages that I’ve had since high school, and a grill my mother had bought us for Christmas,” Kristen said.
As for the horses . . . they have been left with nothing.
“Everything we had for them is gone,” Kristen said.
The loss includes 100 bales of hay, two saddles, girths, halters, hackamores, lead ropes, supplements, around 300 pounds of feed for the adults, and 100 pounds of feed for the colt.
Kristen’s horses include seven-month-old Comanche, two-year-old Marley, three-year-old Huck, eight-year-old Nugget, 15-year-old Gypsy, and 18-year-old Beavis.
Kristen said “Huck” was the nickname of her father, who died in 2010 from a work accident.
“Huck is my favorite baby,” Kristen said of the horse, a Belgian/Clydesdale/Thoroughbred.
“I saw him on the Internet and knew I just had to have him,” she said.
“Nugget was saved from the auction by my friend and her family, as I bought him from them this past summer. He’s better with men, and we butt heads when riding,” Kristen said.
Furthermore, Kristen described Gypsy and Beavis as the “top dogs of the herd.”
“They’re bossy and sometimes grumpy, but they are wonderful horses to trail ride with.”
Kristen said Comanche was formula fed “since a week old.”
“I raised him myself,” she said. “He actually thinks he’s a dog and will hang out with my four dogs over hanging with the horses.”
“Marley was also formula raised by my friend, and she gave her to me when she was a year old,” Kristen said. “She has an old soul. She is very young, but just acts like a “been there, done that” kind of horse, even though she hasn’t.
Thankfully the Ibrahims have witnessed a bit of generosity from fellow Wetzel Countians.
Kristen said a few local individuals have dropped off feed that they bought from New Martinsville’s Feed Store.
Also, thanks to social media, Kristen has become acquainted with “The Road Home Animal Project.” This non-profit organization serves Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The organization’s mission is described as “to help animals in need, specifically livestock of all kinds . . .”
Thanks to The Road Home Animal Project, the Ibrahims’ horses now have a trough to temporarily use for water, as well as blankets and halters. Furthermore, the Ibrahims’ fence was repaired as well.
“They are amazing people,” Kristen stated of the organization. “I can’t wait to be able to give back, and I hope in the future I’ll be able to work with them to help others.”
Those who are interested in donating to the Ibrahims as they work to rebuild for their horses, can check out a Go Fund Me account at https://dm2.gofund.me/gtkp4n5h