By Linda Cicoira — The Chincoteague Island barn where the famous wild pony, Misty, once lived, burned to the ground late Tuesday night, according to spokesperson Denise Bowden, of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. Two houses in the vicinity suffered some exterior damage. There were no injuries.
The barn belonged to members of the Beebe family, who are also an important part of the book, “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry. “All horses were accounted for as well as one goat,” Bowden said. Is was “an iconic structure that to most people looked like any other old barn … to us it is where our history lived and breathed,” she added. Some of the horses are Misty descendants.
The cause of the fire was continuing to be investigated Wednesday. The blaze was reported at around 10:40 p.m. About 50 firefighters including medics responded.
“The fire was attacked from both the north and south side of the structure,” Bowden said. “Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Company provided ladder truck support as our ladder truck is out of service due to a hydraulic problem. Units from Chincoteague, Atlantic, Greenbackville, New Church, Wallops NASA base as well as Chincoteague Police were on the scene and remained until the fire was extinguished,” Bowden reported.
“When first incoming units arrived on scene, the old Misty barn was fully involved,” she continued. “Flames reaching 30 feet in the air” were observed.
Another fire that occurred June 14, on the island, involved a house in the Wildcat development on the north end of the island. Bowden said that fire is still under investigation. Residents including two dogs were able to safely get out. Two guinea pigs were lost. The six-alarm fire was “hampered by heavy winds” and “exposure problems.” Firefighters were recalled to the scene for two days.