8 Horses Killed in Barn Fire
MANSFIELD, Ohio — Investigators say eight race horses were killed early Saturday, when a fire destroyed a barn at the Richland County Fairgrounds.
Mansfield firefighters were called to the fairgrounds at 2:30 a.m., after 911 callers reported seeing large flames lighting up the early morning sky.
When firefighters arrived, they found that the barn, housing trotters and pacers, was fully engulfed. Investigators say the fire was fueled by hay and other materials inside the building.
Assistant Fire Chief Steve Strickling told Fox 8, “The horses were bedded in sawdust primarily, so I mean that’s highly particulate, easy to get a fire spread, then also the stalls were made of wood so they were all easily combustible.”
Firefighters were able to contain the fire before it spread to other barns at the fairgrounds, but could do nothing to save the horses. The owner of the animals arrived at the scene a short time later and got the bad news.
“My understanding was he had two of the horses out last evening for a race, and had been put them back in the barn just prior to the fire,” said Strickling.
The fire has been ruled accidental, but investigators are not sure about the exact cause. According to Strickling, “either electrical or carelessly discarded cigarette materials or smoking materials, which you know is always a possibility whenever you’re involved with a barn.”