POSTED: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 5:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 5:10pm
BOSSIER CITY, LA (KMSS) — Nineteen horses died in a fire at a large barn near Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Haughton just before 6:00 p.m. on August 1.
A barn - the size of a football field - located at the River Point Racing and Equestrian Center, which is adjacent to the Haughton Racetrack, caught fire around 5:45 p.m.
Only one horse housed in the barn was able to be saved.
Nearby Bossier Parish Fire District 1, also known as East 80 Fire, responded within minutes. Other responders who arrived included the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, Bossier Parish Fire District 2 (South Bossier Fire), Haughton Fire Department, Bossier City Fire Department, Bossier Parish EMS, Louisiana State Fire Marshal, Life Air Rescue, Shreveport Fire Department, Louisiana State Police & Louisiana Livestock Brank Commission.
State Fire Marshal and Bossier Sheriff’s Office officials are conducting a unified investigation into the cause of the fire, but have ruled out foul play. They believe the fire originated with an electrical issue with an air conditioning unit or breaker box, but they will further their investigation to determine the exact cause.
“This is such a tragedy to lose this many horses in this manner, and we are certainly saddened for the owners,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington. “The team of law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel worked tirelessly to ensure no more loss of life or destruction of property.”
The property where the horses were housed had multiple barns. Another barn was only a few feet away from the barn that was destroyed, but the nearby barn only sustained minor damage.
Alan Fox, owner of the River Point Racing and Equestrian Center, said this is a tremendous blow to lose 19 horses, but he was truly appreciative of the efforts by first responders. “We want to thank the fire and police for everything they did and working through the night,” he said.
The horses had either recently raced or were in training to race; they belonged to nine different owners, mostly local. All owners have been notified. The horses, which were valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, have been removed from the barn and will be buried.