Three months after a fire swept through a Cecil County horse barn, killing 24 thoroughbreds, investigators have not determined what caused it, a spokesman for the state fire marshal said yesterday.
The fire marshal's office sent a letter this month to a Virginia horse owner, saying the fire was under "criminal investigation," but Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor said yesterday that the description was a matter of "semantics." Taylor said fire investigators have no evidence that the Nov. 1 blaze at the state-owned Fair Hill Training Center was arson.
"Because we don't know the cause, we treat it as if it was a crime," Taylor said.
In the Jan. 9 letter to Dennis L. Bybee, manager of the Virginia Grass Syndicate in Alexandria, Va., fire official Charles C. Widdoes said he could release only limited information because of the criminal probe. Widdoes wrote that the case would require a lengthy investigation and noted that some inquiries have taken more than a year.