1 March 2006

4 horses die in late night Fort Erie barn fire

Electrical trough heater blamed

Four thoroughbreds worth at least $20,000 perished in a barn fire in Fort Erie last night. It is believed that 2 were pregnant mares.

The Fort Erie fire department was alerted to the blaze at 10:30 p.m. by two U.S. men who were driving through the area at Helena Street south of Garrison Road.

By the time firefighters arrived, the barn was fully engulfed and there was no way to get the horses out.

The barn was locked because it is an isolated spot and the owner doesn't live on the property.

Deputy chief Keith German believes the blaze was started by an electric heater that was in use to kept water troughs from freezing.

"He had (the heater) going because of cold temperatures," German said.

Damage for the building was pegged at $40,000.

German said the young men were driving by and saw a glow in the distance. When they went to investigate, they saw flames shooting out of the windows. They had to search for a phone in an isolated area to call for help.

German said they didn't have a cellphone and weren't sure exactly how to locate the barn fire.

Up to 23 firefighters stayed on scene until 4 a.m.

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