Barn Fire Kills 44 Horses, Injures Rescuer

( – A tragic barn fire in Belle Center, Ohio, resulted in the loss of 44 horses and a severe injury to one person.

The fire broke out at Brant Performance Horses near Belle Center, located just inside 70 miles northwest of Columbus.

A worker at the farm spotted the fire erupting inside the barn around noon, and Cathy Brant from Brant Performance Horses said that the employee shouted “fire” to alert others. An explosion ensued shortly after, spreading the fire quickly.

The barn encompasses approximately 60,000 square feet and accommodates around 85 horses. It was designated for training and performances for the horses and living quarters for multiple employees. Unfortunately, these employees lost their personal belongings in the fire.

Eric Priest, the owner of Priest Performances Horses, was inside the barn when the explosion occurred and sustained severe burns to his arms, back, and head. It is anticipated that he will recover, although surgery may be necessary. He was moved to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

Firefighters spent approximately 12 hours at the scene, and the building was already in dangerous condition upon their arrival. They took just ten minutes to arrive and bravely battled the blaze. The State Fire Marshal is still investigating the cause of the fire. What caused the explosion is also unknown.

The owners, Cathy and Brandon Brant told reporters that a fire engulfed the entire barn, trapping many horses inside. A few horses did manage to escape by sheer luck. The only surviving horses were two 3-year-olds who were riding at the time, along with the 2-year-olds residing in a different barn on the property.

The Brant family, who train horses for reining competitions all throughout America, nurturing some of the horses from birth, said they believe they have lost approximately 85% of their business.

Many more than just horses and dogs were lost in the fire. Four individuals who resided in barn apartments lost their personal belongings, including one vehicle.

The horse community has united to supply these items and more during the National Reining Horse Association Derby and arrange transportation for them to Ohio.

Copyright 2024,