Owner of colt killed in Taneytown barn fire sues NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

November 06, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The owner of a 2-year-old colt killed in a fire that destroyed a horse barn near Taneytown early this year is seeking $60,000 in damages from a trainer and the farm's owner.

Stephen R. Matz, of Sparks in Baltimore County, has filed suit in Carroll County Circuit Court against Sichette Joanna Weber, a ,, former trainer at the 225-acre farm, and the Eggs I. Corp. Inc. of Westminster, claiming negligence and breach of contract.

The colt was among nine horses killed in a two-alarm fire Jan. 13 that destroyed an indoor horse-training barn at the Bowling Brook Farm in Middleburg.

The colt had been at the farm two months.

The suit alleges that both Ms. Weber and the corporation, owned Mark Gross of Westminster, failed to protect the colt from "unreasonable risk of harm and . . . to warn Matz of any defective conditions and dangers at the horse farm."

Mr. Gross owned no horses at the farm but leased stalls to trainers. His company bought the farm in 1989.

Neither Mr. Gross nor Ms. Weber could be reached for comment yesterday.

Ms. Weber had several horses stabled at the farm, mostly 2-year-olds, that she trained for a number of clients, including Mr. Matz. She no longer works at the farm.

The fire, which caused more than $500,000 in damage, was believed to have started in a stall used for hay and straw storage. Four thoroughbreds managed to escape from the circular barn, known for its four imposing water towers.

The farm, at 6003 Middleburg Road, was once a powerhouse in Maryland thoroughbred training circles -- the one-time home of seven Preakness winners, four Belmont Stakes winners and a Kentucky Derby victor.

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