Beecher barn fire claims lives of 6 horses
WILL COUNTY - In a devastating incident on Wednesday morning, a barn in Beecher went up in flames, resulting in the deaths of six horses.
The fire broke out around 9:30 a.m., prompting an immediate response from fire crews. However, by the time they arrived on the scene, the 60 by 130 foot building was already engulfed in flames.
The owner of the Las Palmas Horse Ranch believes the fire originated from hay bales stored inside the barn.
"When you bale hay, and it’s not dry enough, it gets very hot and catches fire," said owner Librado Barraca.
Thankfully, the collaboration between firefighters and ranch personnel led to the successful rescue of 22 other horses.
"We made our best efforts to try and gain entry into the fire building, but conditions were just too far advanced to go in and effect a rescue," said Beecher Fire Department Chief Joe Falaschetti.
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The building, which included a large arena and ten stables, was more than a barn to this family, but rather a like a second home. Three quinceaneras and a wedding all happened inside.
Now, the horse community is doing what they can to pitch in, with some dropping off 100 hay bales with 100 more to come.
"It’s heart-wrenching you know? Cause the horse community, even though we slightly do disciplines, we still all know each other. We are still all family," said family friend Kelly Falaney.
The challenging situation was compounded by strong winds, which hindered firefighting efforts. Firefighters had to transport water to the rural location, and assistance from 15 to 20 agencies was required to combat the blaze.
While the fire is currently under investigation, authorities do not consider it suspicious.