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Man who lost barn during wildfire near Sonoita triumphs

Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-25 14:00:37-05

In the Spring of 2017, the town of Sonoita saw a number of wildfires that burned thousands of acres. 

The Kellogg Fire, which burned nearly 800-acres, ripped through a man's life from him in a matter of minutes. 

Alex Quiroga spent his life doing what he loved --- training horses. 

Quiroga has trained horses that have competed throughout the state of Arizona and other surrounding states at his family barn, 5Q Stables in Sonoita. 

But on a warm day in June 2017, his barn was burned to the ground by the Kellogg Fire

"It's been so hard on me. I lost a lot of stuff that had a lot of memories," says Quiroga. 

Quiroga went into a deep depression after losing not just his barn but everything close to his heart --- pictures, trophies, and equipment. 

Quiroga says, "there's no price tag on stuff like that. Their trophies - they're like any other athlete that gets a trophy. They meant a lot to me and they meant a lot to my family. Every race that I won my family was in the picture." 

In December 2017, Quiroga went to the barn for the first time. 

"It was hard for me, and when I lost the barn I just couldn't face going down there.... It just doesn't seem right that my barn isn't there."

In all, Quiroga lost $80,000 because he didn't have insurance.

According to Quiroga, he says, insurance companies couldn't insure his barn because it was too far from the main structure. 

But there's a silver lining in this tragedy, Quiroga says.

"To lose the barn was kind of the straw that broke the camels back. It made me decide that I can no longer do this. I can't train anymore."

While he's faced reality and learned to deal with the pain of loss, he says he's happy for the memories that he has been given for the past 77 years. 

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