California Barn Fire Claims Horses' Lives

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Fire authorities in Chino, California, are blaming hay bales for a barn fire that claimed the two horses' lives.

Chino Valley Fire District Public Information Officer Massiel Labrondeguevara said that on July 6, fire district personnel answered a call about a blaze in a barn containing two horses. At the scene, firefighters discovered one horse dead in its stall and removed a second horse from the barn, Labrondeguevara said.

“Firefighters were able to save him and to put out the fire that was on him,” Labrondeguevara said. “But when the veterinarian got there he determined that the horse's injuries were too severe and the horse was euthanized.”

Fire investigators determined that bales of hay stored in the barn were responsible for the blaze, Labrondeguevara said.

“They had just put fresh bales of hay into the barn,” Labrondeguevara said. “Fire investigators are calling the fire caused by spontaneous combustion.”

Rebecca Gimenez, PhD, president and primary instructor of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, said many barn fires result from improper feed storage. So, she recommends owners avoid storing hay inside horse barns, and keep feed containers covered to discourage rodents that could gnaw on wires and inadvertantly spark fires.

Gimenez also advises owners to avoid storing electronic devices in close proximity to hay or stall bedding. Finally, she advises owners to remove inappropriate fans, heaters, and other electrical devices that could spark and ignite a fire from barns.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a professional journalist who has covered horse industry and equestrian topics for a number of publications. Her background includes riding, showing, and training Saddlebred horses.

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