Stables gutted in Noordhoek fire

The Whispering Wood stables before the fire.

The fires that swept across swathes of Noordhoek last week also destroyed the Whispering Wood stables.

Erin Fobian, who leases this section of The Docker Farm, had 15 stables. Now only seven remain.

Her property is also home to 20 feral cats, six of which are missing.

Ms Fobian could not say whether the cats had died in the fire or had simply run off, but only 14 had returned for their food.

The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) takes Ms Fobian some of the wilder cats they cannot home.

“Of the 20 cats on the property, only 10 could be touched, and of those 10, only four would allow themselves to be picked up,” Ms Fobian said.

The six missing cats are among the wilder ones.

The fire started on Sunday January 26 and at first it looked like it would miss the farm, but at noon the following day the wind changed direction.

Once the fire reached the farm, it took less than half an hour to raze the stables.

Ms Fobian said she was very moved by the support from the community, including Rose Wilson’s call on the Bergvliet and Surrounds Facebook page to help rebuild.

Ms Wilson said she had wanted to help because of Ms Fobian’s “pure love of animals” and the lengths she went to for them.

“She is a huge animal lover from her hamsters to horses and the feral cats, which she has a knack for, because some of them even let her cuddle them.”

Elena Fedele, another member of the group, then brought the appeal to the attention of the False Bay Echo to broaden its reach.

“I am merely a messenger and member of the Facebook group which is so supportive and caring with very little of the nastiness that is so prevalent on the web these days,” Ms Fedele said.

Ms Fobian thanked everyone who has helped so far, including the owners of the horses who helped to move them on the day of the fire.

At the time of the blaze all the horses – two belonging to Ms Fobian and 12 belonging to others – were grazing in the paddock.

“I had people who were complete strangers to me arriving at the farm and asking what they could do to help. People were moving hay bundles and food and horses, and between us all, we managed to avert disaster, and the only losses we suffered were the loss of the stables. We are so thankful to everyone for their kindness and action.”

Ms Fobian said Tears and strangers had donated food for the ferals and the horses’ needs were all taken care of.

Her biggest challenge now is the rebuild.

“We will rebuild in a different place now, having learned from this. And thank you to the people who have brought some building materials. We ideally need poles and roof sheets and building materials of this nature.”

To find out how you can help, call Ms Fobian at 082 789 4293.