Barn filled with horses burns to the ground - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Barn filled with horses burns to the ground

By Janice Broach - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

NEW ALBANY, MS (WMC-TV) - More than one dozen horses were killed over the weekend when the barn they were in caught fire.

Officials said the deadly fire broke out late Sunday night in a livestock building in New Albany, Mississippi.  Nearly 30 horses were inside the barn when the fire broke out.

Monday, a twisted, charred wad of metal was all that remained of the building, which doubled as a horse barn and a cafe.

According to New Albany Fire Department Chief Jeff Hale, when firefighters arrived around 8:30 Sunday night, the entire building - filled with horses - was on fire.

Firefighters worked quickly to save as many of the panicked horses as they could.

"I don't think they knew what to do when the guys got there," Hale said. "They did their best to get the horses out."

In the confusion, Hale said, one of the horses that initially escaped from the fire, panicked, and ran back into the flames, where he died.

Amy Shankle's father owned the cafe for 40 years.

"Our customers were like family to us," Shankle said. "That's the way we treated them. Many of them spent as much time here as they did at their homes."

Shankle says her father plans to reopen the cafe. The owner of most of the horses, meanwhile, did not have insurance. 

Hale said investigators believe faulty wiring caused the fire. A vet checked out the horses that survived and said they all appear to be in pretty good shape. No one was in the restaurant when the fire broke out.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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