POSTED: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 7:30pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 7:34pm
HAUGHTON, LA — State Fire Marshal Butch Browning has released information regarding the tragic fire which claimed the lives of 19 horses last week near Louisiana Downs in Haughton. 
Investigators were dispatched to the scene to assist Bossier Parish Authorities with determining the origin and cause for the fire. Investigators confirmed only one of the 20 horses being housed at the facility at the time was rescued before flames engulfed the entire building and claimed the lives of the remaining animals.
Eyewitnesses to the early stages of the fire told investigators that smoke could be seen coming from around the door to an office and living quarters constructed within the barn on the north end.
Upon opening the door, flames were visible at an air-conditioning unit and the electrical receptacle it was plugged in to. The few people who were there at the time began moving horses from the stalls nearest the fire to areas away from the fire believing the fire would be contained to the living quarters. As the horses were being moved, the fire progressed rapidly and would be rescuers were forced to abandon their efforts.
Investigators who sifted through the fire debris located the badly damaged remains of the air conditioner and components of the electrical wiring system. Through investigation it was learned there had been a small fire in the stable several weeks prior. It too reportedly originated at the electrical system and was extinguished by those standing nearby before significant damage was caused.
While an exact cause for the fire Thursday has not been identified, investigators have attributed the cause to an electrical malfunction.
While the loss of so many animals is certainly tragic, there have been as many as 50 horses boarded at the facility in the past and it was fortunate this was not the case during the fire.
After conducting interviews with the building owner identified as Allen Fox and the owners of the 18 of the 19 deceased animals, it does not appear the structure or the animals were insured.