A horse that was rescued from a burning barn at a ranch in Sylmar was recovering Friday from injuries it sustained in the Creek Fire that had killed at least 30 horses, officials said.
Several other horses were rescued Tuesday as the barn was engulfed by flames, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.
“The department shares in the grief over the loss of these beautiful horses, and all other animals affected by the Creek and Rye fires,” said Don Barre, the department’s public information officer.
“We also wish to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts made by officers in response to this event and provide information regarding their response to this devastating situation.”
Barre said the department received a request for assistance at the barn at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. Los Angeles County Animal Control officers responded immediately and arrived at the location to find a barn burning, with some areas of the roof collapsing.
The officers could see and hear horses in distress and quickly retrieved two horses and a puppy, Barre said.
“After securing these animals in their trailer and vehicle, the officers returned to the burning barn to rescue an additional four horses before the flames blocked their entry,” Barre said.
The officers placed these four horses in an arena on the property away from the fire. Before they left for their own safety and that of the animals they had rescued, the officers animal control officers flagged down a fire truck to douse the barn with water, Barre said.
Additional animal control teams returned to the property to find the barn still burning and entered to rescue horses but found stalls padlocked, according to Barre.
“The officers were forced to break the padlocks of 10 stalls to rescue the horses,” Barre said. “The barn became inaccessible due to the fire and the collapsing roof. The officers transported these horses to (the incident command post), returned some of the horses to their concerned owners, and the remaining horses were transported to the department’s emergency sheltering location at Pierce College.”
A team of four officers returned to the ranch to rescue the horses in the arena, he said. The officers were joined by owners with trailers and the horses in the arena were all retrieved by the owner and by the officers.
“Sadly, many horses locked in their stalls at the barn did not survive the fire,” Barre said.
Three of the horses transported to Pierce College in Woodland Hills were injured by the fire. The department immediately obtained emergency veterinary treatment for them, Barre said.
One horse had to be euthanized due to the extent of its injuries and another was medically released, according to Barre.
A third horse will recover after several months of treatment, which is being paid for by the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation, Barre said.
“DACC officers are committed to saving the lives of animals and heroically struggled in this difficult situation to save as many horses as possible,” said a department statement. “The department extends its deepest condolences to the horse owners who lost their beloved equine friends.”
—City News Service
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