CHICAGO (CBS) — At least 18 horses were killed when a barn caught fire overnight in southwest suburban Plainfield.
Plainfield Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Jon Stratton said the fire started just after 1 a.m. at Del Real Stables. Several owners board horses there. Thirteen horses were saved from the blaze, but 18 were killed.
“There was some residents here that were actually extracting the horses out of the barn. We started putting the fire out, and we actually got a lot of the horses out, but we did lose 18 horses inside the barn,” he said.
Stratton said flames quickly consumed the barn; the challenge was getting water to the site. Crews had to truck it in, because there were not any hydrants nearby.
All of the horse owners were too distraught to talk after the blaze.
“These are really pets to people; are really part of their families, and it’s tough to see that on the human side, but it’s very difficult to see and understand the suffering those animals went through in their last minutes,” Plainfield Fire Protection District Chief Dave Riddle said.
Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said the horses were pretty agitated as they were being moved from the barn into a corral.
“An on-call veterinarian came out, had to settle some of the horses down a little bit. The owners of the horses started arriving pretty quickly. They were able to calm down several horses, but as far as the horses inside the barn, there wasn’t much we could do for them,” he said.
Konopek said the horse’s owners think of the animals as their children.
“So, as you can imagine, most if not all of the horse owners are very emotional,” he said.
Two horse owners were injured trying to rescue the animals. One suffered smoke inhalation, the other suffered an ankle injury.
The barn was a total loss as a result of the blaze.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. Police said, at this time, there is no reason to believe the fire was suspicious.