12 horses die, others injured in Florida barn fire

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Farm Forum

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (AP) — Twelve horses died and two were critically injured in a barn fire at an equestrian complex in suburban Palm Beach, the owner said.

Sam Stathis, owner of the South Florida Trotting Center, told the Palm Beach Post that along with the critically injured horses, nine others survived and were taken to a veterinarian. The fire erupted on the night of March 15 and burned into the early morning.

“We saved 11 horses, and we lost 12,” Stathis told the newspaper. “God be with us.”

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue officials told the Post that workers were able to get some horses out as the fire spread. The barn’s roof collapsed and hay inside fed the flames.

Stable worker Roman Lopez told WPTV-TV his friend tried to open gates and let horses out, but the thick smoke made it impossible.

“It was just too tough. The roof started to come down. The horses were just on fire. You just freak out. You don’t know which way to go,” he said.

Officials said the fire’s cause is still under investigation.