Family picks up the pieces after fire destroyed barn, killed prized stallion: “One of the most loved animals”

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WATERTOWN -- A Watertown family is picking up the pieces after a fire at Karen's Quarter Horse and Buckskin Ranch on County Road M last weekend. This, as investigators work to determine whether the fire was intentionally set.

The fire happened last Sunday, October 19th.

Fire at Karen's Quarter Horse and Buckskin Ranch

Fire at Karen's Quarter Horse and Buckskin Ranch

"The neighbors that live up on the hill, at 2:30, gave me a call and said our barn was on fire," Karen Gauger said. "When me and my husband got there, the whole entire building was just in flames and everything was gone."

Beau

Beau

Beau, a prized champion stallion died in the fire.

"My mom had Beau for a very long time and won a lot of trophies with my mom," John Huber, Gauger's son said.

"He was one of the most loved animals at the entire fair. He was the only horse that we left his door open," Gauger said.

Initially, arson was suspected in this case, but investigators are struggling to determine how the fire started.

Beau

Beau

"At this point we haven't really ruled anything out," David Huber, Gauger's husband said.

Amid the tragedy, with no water, electricity or way to feed their other animals, members of the community are stepping forward to help.

"People just showed up with hay and all this stuff to help us take care of the animals. People we didn't even know," Gauger said.

Fire at Karen's Quarter Horse and Buckskin Ranch

Fire at Karen's Quarter Horse and Buckskin Ranch

"Our barn put a collection together and we have some supplies that we're donating -- but how could you not?" Jana Burks said.

With the love and support of those around them, Gauger and her family are working to pick up the pieces.

"It'll probably take us three, four months to get everything complete. But I plan to have everything done no later than the first of April," David Huber said.

Fire at Karen's Quarter Horse and Buckskin Ranch

Fire at Karen's Quarter Horse and Buckskin Ranch

"We are gonna rebuild a beautiful building to honor our precious stallion," Gauger said.