Groom and 23 Horses Lose Lives in Fire at Belmont: Alfred Mitchell Dies as Result of Kick While Leading Out Charge, Daily Racing Form, 1952-06-17


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Groom and 23 Horses Lose Lives in Fire at Belmont Alfred Mitchell Dies as Result of Kick While Leading Out Charge ELMONT, L. I., N. Y., June 16.— A flash fire swept through a stable at historic Belmont Park race track early today, causing the death of one man and burning 23 horses to death. The dead man was identified as Alfred Mitchell, of Laurel, Md., a groom for trainer -owner Judy Johnson. Another groom, Marvin Weinsten, 19, Baltimore, said Mitchell was kicked by a jumper, Syracuse Lad, as he tried to get the horse out of the flaming stable. Flames engulfed the building so fast, Weinsten said, that he was unable to help Mitchell when the groom was felled by the horse. One-half of the stable, barn 35 at the track, was completely gutted, firemen said. A brick wall in the middle of the long, one-story building kept flames from spreading to the other half. Weinsten said he also tried to get Syracuse Lad, owned by E. S. Haviland and trained by Judy Johnson, out of the burning stall, but the horse broke away and was engulfed by the flames. Many of the dead horses were thorough-Continued on Page Five 1 ] l ] t t t i i c s I i ; i * j . • . 1 1 1 , i 1 | I I I j . j ! , ! Groom and 23 Horses Lose % Lives in Fire at Belmont Alfred Mitchell Dies as Result of p Kick While Leading Out Charge J Continued from Page One breds housed at Belmont for New Yorks summer racing season. Belmonts season l ended on Wednesday, but the horses were , stabled there for racing at Aqueduct. The fire was discovered at 2:27 a. m. by t Joe Kelly, a watchman. "It was only a little , glow when I first saw it," he said. T ran to pull one of the fire boxes and then 1 helped lead out some of the horses from i the other end of the barn. The firemen I were here in five minutes and they helped ■ with the horses, too. But it went too fast, too fast," he said. Horses in nearby stables were not moved 1 from their stalls, Weinsten said. He said [ the fire mushroomed through the building , so quickly and was put out just as quickly that the danger to other buildings was over • before other horses could be moved. , Young Weinsten, barefooted, stood by the burned out building with tears in his eyes. He lost all his clothes in the fire. He couldnt estimate the value of the horses lost. "When a man loses a horse," he said, "it means a lot more than money." Weinsten said he tried to drag Mitchell from the stall by the leg when he was felled, but the six-foot Mitchell was too heavy for" the slim lad. "I never want to see another fire like I this — with the horses screaming. Its some- ■ thing you cant forget," Weinsten said. Because of the frequent shipments to ! and from Belmont Park, it was impossible : to definitely identify all of the horses lost ; in the blaze. Officials of the track did not ; believe a list of the casualties could be I compiled with any degree of accuracy before tomorrow. i Those horses known to have perished in ; the fire, in addition to T. B. Motts Syra- I cuse Lad, were Mrs. Carroll de Havenons i Quiet, Mrs. C. McGhee Baxters Eperon, i Montpeliers Fairy Lure and Gridley; Mrs. * G. H. Willis Little Attorney, D. D. Pierces My Dish and S. O. Grahams What Passes. J Syracuse Lad had finished third in the . New York Turf Writers Cup at the United Hunts meeting last Tuesday. He was 1 trained by Miss Judy Johnson, who is said to have lost at least five of her charges in the holocaust. t Eperon, a French-bred six-year-old geld- ing, had started twice in this country, fin- ] ishing third to Dans Chance in his Ameri- i can debut on June 5, then coming back to i score a facile victory in a hurdles race at t Belmont Park last Wednesday. j

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