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Classy Lane Barn Almost Ready

Published: March 24, 2016 3:40 pm ET

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It doesn’t feel like the Ontario Standardbred industry is already 12 weeks removed from the Classy Lane Training Centre barn fire that claimed the lives of 43 horses and threw scores of lives into chaos. The wounds are still fresh, but the fact that a new barn is close to being finished is helping many begin to turn the corner.

A news crew from CHCH recently made the trek to Classy Lane and found that the new barn that is being erected in place of the old Barn 1 is coming along well. If all goes according to plan, it is expected that the new barn will be ready for use on May 1.

“They’ve basically just put their heads down and have gone back to work,” Ken Parke, of the Classy Lane Training Centre, said about the trainers that have grinded through the winter months in an effort to get themselves back on their feet.

The new barn is being built on the same site as Barn 1, but there will be an oak tree and a plaque out back to honour those that were lost in the tragic blaze. Additionally, the name of the barn will be different.

“We’re going to call it Barn 6 instead of Barn 1 again – just out of respect. So many lives were lost,” Parke told CHCH.

Insurance has helped the operators of Classy Lane rebuild the barn. CHCH has cited Jamie Millier as saying that they are experimenting with sprinklers inside the new barn and more advanced smoke detectors.

The Central Ontario Standardbred Association has spearheaded fundraising efforts for grooms, trainers and owners that were affected by the blaze. Most of the horses, equipment, etc. that was lost in the blaze was not insured.

Standardbred Canada commends COSA for all of its outstanding work in fundraising for the victims of the Classy Lane Fire. To date, it has helped raise more than $667,000.

“There’s a warm feeling knowing that there is support out there in a catastrophe like this,” said trainer Ben Wallace, whose operation was devastated by the blaze.

(With files from CHCH)

A shot of the inside of the new barn (Image courtesy CHCH)

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