By JODY ZARKOS
and STEVE BENSON
Express Staff Writers
The cause of an early morning fire that burned down a loafing shed Sunday at Silver Bell Ranch on Broadford Road near Hailey is still under investigation. The shed was property of Wood River Fire and Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Nevins.
Wood River Fire and Rescue Chief Bart Lassman said some preliminary investigation has been conducted but "we didn't want to disturb anything in case the insurance company's investigators would want to salvage anything in and around the buildings."
"What we did find was a probable origin where the fire started but we didn't find the actual cause of the fire," he added.
Lassman said the culprit is likely mechanical wiring that controls a heated horse-watering trough in the structure. But he said it could be a week or more before that is officially determined.
Wood River Fire and Rescue was dispatched to the fire at 7:36 a.m. Sunday. The blaze was declared under control 20 minutes later. Units from Hailey, Bellevue and Ketchum Rural also responded to the call, and some were on site until 11 a.m.
Nevins and his wife, Melanie, own the property and evacuated eight show horses from a nearby barn, which sustained some damage when the fire spread from the shed.
Lassman said dispatch warned crews en-route to the scene to be aware of three or four moose that were seen traveling down Main Street in Hailey.
"But I don't believe it had anything to do with fire," Lassman said. "The fire was quite a ways from where moose habitat was."
Lassman said the shed was being used as a storage facility for tractors, an old golf cart, motorcycles and lawn mowers.
"We believe the fire started in or around that building. It spread to the horse barn, which was 7 feet away," he said. "(The fire) did significant damage to the gable and underneath the soffit. We were able to stop it before it burned into the attic, but it completely destroyed the other building made of metal and wood."