Kentucky barn fire kills at least 23 horses, reports say

Eric Reed, the owner, believes that a lightning might have struck the barn, setting fire to the structure and killing almost two dozen of his horses.

Reed said there is no doubt more horses could have been saved if the response time had been quicker. The center has three barns total and more than 100 horses.

Reed thanked his staff, who he said ran "into a blazing hell to try and save these animals, risking their lives", and the horse community in general: "It was a huge comfort to have the super friends and helpers some of which I had never met, come to Mercury yesterday and help with food, coffee, hugs and supplies".

A freak lightning strike is being blamed for a fire that swept through a barn at a racehorse training facility near Lexington, Kentucky, killing 23 horses.

The horses, owned by 15 different individuals, were not insured, Reed said, but the barn was covered, although any eventual settlement likely won't cover the cost of a replacement building.

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He said 36 horses were inside the barn at the time, with another 50 kept elsewhere. Lexington, the second largest city in Kentucky, calls itself "the horse capital of world".

Reed referred to the accident as a nightmare.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

"My night watchman gave me a holler at 12.45am and said the barn was on fire, he thought it had been hit by lightning".

An early-morning barn fire at an equine training center in Lexington, Ky., killed dozens of horses, majority yearlings, police said Sunday. It routinely ships horses to tracks in "Ohio, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Indiana, and as far as California", according to its website. The Mercury Equine facility is a 60-acre "thoroughbred training center".

  • Sidney Guerrero