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With temperatures climbing into the high 50s, Becky Noe knew she had to take advantage of the nice weather to cut the grass around her Ramga Road home.
At approximately 1 p.m. Thursday, Noe went outside and climbed aboard the lawnmower when she noticed smoke from her neighbor’s barn — the barn she knew housed Mary and Ray Holbrook’s 12-year-old Tennessee Walker.
She jumped off the lawnmover, called 911 to report a fire and rushed over to save the horse, Blaze, from a blaze. When she made it to Blaze’s stall, she noticed the Holbrook’s dog they had just saved sitting in the corner, chained to the side of the barn.
Noe moved quickly to free the dog and then to get Blaze to safety.
“It was just unbelievable, the whole thing just kind of got dropped in my lap,” Noe told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “It was weird because they had two barns at the old house there and the barn they tore down three weeks ago was weathered and that was where the horse was staying. They tore it down and did a controlled burn and now the horse was staying in the remaining barn.”
Noe continued to recount how she crossed the street when she realized something was terribly wrong as she noticed smoke billowing out of the top of the barn.
She quickly called 911, but she could not give dispatchers the exact address and told the dispatchers it was on Ramga Road and she had to go so she could save the horse.
Firefighters from the Buckland Volunteer, New Knoxville and Wapakoneta fire departments would soon respond to the blaze. Smoke could be seen as far away as the Wapakoneta Middle School.
Firefighters soon learned the fire was at 15115 Ramga Road, but Noe had already sprung into action.
“It would have taken only minutes and that horse and a dog would have been gone,” Noe said. “I know it was getting close because I knew it was going to go all up.
“It was just so scary and I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “The weird thing was when I got over to the horse I saw there was dog in the southeast corner of the barn.”
She unchained the dog, named Blue, and then worked to save Blaze. She said she just learned the horse’s name a few weeks ago and used it to calm the horse down.
Noe then noticed three vehicles parked along the side of the barn and started screaming for help. She finally went up to the house and was met by the Holbrook’s daughter, Karen.
Noe feared the gasoline tanks on the cars would explode.
They drove two vehicles, which were parked within a few feet or so of the barn to safety when firefighters arrived and moved the other vehicle.
Now, Noe and a neighbor, Jackie Martel, are collecting donations of horse supplies so the Holbrooks can take care of the horse, which is now staying a friend’s house. All of their supplies burned in the fire.
Noe, who just recently met the neighbors, said the Holbrooks may have to move if they don’t have a place to keep the horse. They were ecstatic about having the second barn and now that is gone.
The Holbrooks lost several items in the blaze including an old-time washer and a 150-year-old kettle.
“Why did this happen to me, I just don’t know,” Noe said. “I don’t know why I was there for them the way I was, but I was.”
The Holbrooks thanked Noe and she said they will always be connected because of the fire.
Noe and her husband, Tom, served in the military and she doesn’t consider herself a hero.
“I just feel like I was in the right place at the right time,” Noe said. “A hero — no — it was just a really cool feeling to save that horse and that dog because I knew how much that horse and dog meant to that family. I could see it on their faces that they loved that horse and dog.”