Marietta lawyer Alice Summerour was at the Marietta-McEachern football game Friday night before deciding to leave early.
As she came home to her farm abutting Blackjack Mountain, she was concerned to find a firetruck blocking a road, believing a neighbor might have been the victim of a fire.
Settling in for the evening, the passing sirens and lights were constant. But the farm is expansive, and nobody had contacted Summerour about the fire. An hour or so after getting home, she checked Facebook right before bed and read a description of the fire that someone had posted. A barn was burning between Bentley Lake Road and North Marietta Parkway, and it sounded exactly like hers.
“And so, I just threw on some clothes and went out there as fast as I could,” Summerour said. “It was already too late. They had been working for hours trying to put it out, and it was just a total loss.”
The barn was part of Blackjack Stables, which Summerour owns. Despite being devastated at the loss of the barn, she was thankful that her five horses had been out in the pasture and were unharmed. The barn contained farm equipment such as fencing, wood, wire and the like.
Fire investigators haven’t given Summerour any indication as to what they believe caused the fire. Summerour thinks someone lit it intentionally.
“There’s no electricity to the barn, there’s no activity in the barn, it’s just for storage,” Summerour said. “There’s no other explanation than arson.”
Marietta Fire Chief Tim Milligan confirmed the location of the fire and said his firefighters were called out to the site at 9:28 p.m. Friday. Though Marietta firefighters assisted in fighting the blaze, the fire occurred in unincorporated Cobb County — Milligan directed further questions about the incident to Cobb Fire, which is overseeing the investigation.
Cobb Fire did not respond to inquiries about the fire by press time.
On Wednesday, Summerour heard from a cousin that another barn on the other side of the mountain had burned in the past month or so.
“So, I don’t know if we have arsonists living in the neighborhood or what’s going on, but it’s put me extremely on edge,” Summerour said.
Summerour added that investigators were coming back to the site on Wednesday to examine it further.
Per Summerour, there was no fire hydrant nearby, so the firefighters had to maintain a parade of trucks that would empty their water.
“I would like to thank the community for their outpouring of love and support. It’s really been special to know that people care,” she said.
Summerour also thanked the firefighters for their “enormous effort … to try to contain the blaze.”