NEW ALBANY – Fourteen horses died and several more suffered burns and smoke inhalation in a fire that destroyed the former livestock auction building on State Highway 178 near New Albany’s east end. The fire, which was reported about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, also destroyed Adderholt’s Stockyard Café.
The livestock auction building had last operated in May 2008, but horse trader Blake Thompson had leased space in it to house his animals, some two dozen of which were at the barn when it burned. The restaurant was open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, drawing a loyal crowd of customers with “home cooking,” said café employee Dale Coleman.
Fire officials on Monday warned those involved to exercise extreme caution in removing the dead horses from beneath the melted structure.
“You can see the steel I-beams,” said New Albany Fire Chief Jeff Hale. “Any movement at all, that building could shift and come down.”
Horse trader Blake Thompson had leased the facility to keep his animals while he rebuilt another facility at his home in Ingomar.
“All my best horses were killed,” he said. “The ones still alive, the chances are more against them than for them. Some of them will die for sure.” Thompson also lost records for the remaining animals, he said.
A deputy state fire marshal was on the scene Monday morning, but no cause for the fire was immediately evident.
Steve Adderholt has been in the restaurant business in Northeast Mississippi for more than 30 years. He was meeting Monday with employees and others to consider options for reopening in a different location.
“I’m going to check out all my options and see if I can’t make an intelligent decision,” he said. “For years a lot of the local people have enjoyed coming here Some people would be here religiously – some of them seven days a week.”
Building owner J.D. Moreland said he will not make any decisions until he knows what insurance will cover.
“If I rebuild, it won’t be that big,” he said.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click view slideshow link below photo above to see more from the fire.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal