Newlyweds Jerry and Samantha Hill owned the horse and dogs. The sheep belonged to someone else, said Kurt McNabb. The Hills work for McNabb’s son, Ken McNabb.
The fire likely started at around 10 p.m.
Both in pickups, Jerry Hill was bringing up the rear, with Samantha Hill in the lead, when they saw the blazing structure at 10:20 p.m.
“We spotted it at the same time,” Jerry Hill said.
When Samantha Hill reported the fire, she said it was fully involved, said Dave Hoffert of the Clark Fire Department.
By the time the Clark Volunteer Fire Department was summoned at 10:22 p.m., nothing remained of the pole structure but a few upright posts. Everything burned or was melted, obliterating any hints as to the root of the fire.
“The cause is probably going to remain undetermined,” said Clark Fire Chief Nate Hoffert.
Russ Wenke, administrator for Park County Fire District No. 2, said he believes it was an accident.
Jerry had planned to sell the pony in Billings the next day. A tack room full of equipment, including his saddle and horse shoeing equipment, went up in smoke too. “It was just a mess for everybody,” Jerry said.
“We’re doing all right,” Jerry said. “It’s just heartbreaking more than anything.”