Early morning flames leveled a barn in the Poconos and killed nearly a dozen animals.
Flames shot from the horse barn at Pleasant Ridge Farm near Mountainhome in Monroe County around 1 a.m. Sunday.
Investigators said the fire spread quickly through the wood building and caused the second floor, which was filled with hay, to collapse.
Several horses and other animals were trapped inside.
“We did attempt to go through the front, main entrance to try get some of the horses out. We were unsuccessful at that. It was just too hot and just ripping through the building way too much,” said Assistant Chief Grover Cleveland with the Barrett Township Volunteer Fire Company.
More than two dozen firefighters tried to keep the blaze from spreading to the nearby arena.
The Barrett Township Volunteer Fire Company is less than a mile away from the farm. Jerry Van Norman was one of the first firefighters to arrive. His wife boards two horses across the street from Pleasant Ridge farm.
“There was really nothing we could do. We did our best,” said Jerry Van Norman. “It’s a shame they lost everything, so we’ll do anything we can to help them.”
Hours later, a state police fire marshal sifted through the still-smoldering rubble, searching for the cause of so much devastation.
Fire officials said nine horses and one pig did not make it out of the burning barn. Those who own horses said it was a terrible loss.
“I was in tears. It`s devastating to hear,” said Carolyn Van Norman of Canadensis. “ValCor Stables, the barn where I board my horses is right next door and it could have easily happened to us just as well and my heart goes out to (the owner).”
Investigators said the owner of the barn lost four of her horses and five that she boarded for other people.
“They`d come here daily and take care of them, do everything they can to treat them as a family member and it`s a big loss,” added Cleveland.
“They`re like little kids. They have personalities, they have their quirks, they have their likenesses. They`re our friends and sometimes our best friends,” said Carolyn Van Norman. “I wish there was something I could do to help ease her pain.”
Investigators said one pig did make it out of the flames.
The owner of the barn does have insurance. An exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined.