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Clay County family asking community for help after 30-year-old barn burns down

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A local family is grappling with the aftermath of a devastating fire that completely destroyed their 30-year-old barn.

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The barn owner, Justin Blackwood, spoke with Action News Jax about the challenging situation he and his family now face, and are asking the community for help.

Justin Blackwood described the Tuesday night fire as “one of those oh crap moments,”

The blaze took the family by surprise as they were getting ready for bed, with Blackwood’s wife in the shower. He came out to check on their dogs and saw flames rapidly engulfing the barn.

According to Blackwood, the fire began as a small blaze but quickly grew, even leading to a ball of fire flying out of their tack room.

Blackwood says the arrival of five Clay County Fire and Rescue trucks came to help fight the blaze, but it couldn’t be contained. The barn, which had been a part of the property before Blackwood moved in, now stands as little more than charred columns.

He says he now knows how this all started.

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“From our understanding, and what the Clay County Fire Chief told us, that it was most likely electrical,” Blackwood told Action News Jax.

The barn had been home to several rescued animals that were previously abused and abandoned. There were a total of nine animals, comprising five horses, a pony, a calf, a cow, and two goats. While two of the animals were inside during the fire, they survived without injuries.

In the wake of the fire, many of the family’s animals are without proper shelter, and their next steps remain uncertain. However, the community has come together to assist them during this difficult time.

Neighbors across the road have offered access to water after the fire damaged the family’s well pump.

A GoFundMe page has been established to provide support to the family as they work to rebuild and overcome the challenges brought on by this tragic fire.

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