9 horses die in Ontario barn fire

Ontario Provincial Police say nine horses have died following a barn fire near London, Ont. on Saturday morning.

The fire began around 4 a.m.

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at the Darkin Riding Stables in Otterville, Ont., which is located about 65 kilometres east of London.

Witness Whitbourne Henderson said he woke to sound of the fire.

“I (could) hear something popping, popping, popping,” he told CTV Kitchener.

Henderson said he tried to enter the barn, but a thick wall of black smoke stopped him at the door.

“I heard them stomping their feet in there … and I couldn’t help them,” Henderson said.

All nine of the horses at Darkin Stables died.

Darlene Kinnear, owner of Darkin Stables, said the horses were rented for birthday parties or private trail rides. The horses also worked with people with mental illness.

They’re not just horses,” Kinnear told CTV Kitchener. “They all had a special part in our lives.”

Kinnear said owning the stable was her dream and that five of the horses that perished belonged to her.

She estimates the loss at $50,000, most of which was equipment.

“Replacing my horses would be immeasurable to me, at this point,” Kinnear said. “I would rather remember them last night when they were all happy and getting treats and kisses and hugs before I left for the night.”

Kinnear said she had just moved her business to the stables in January, and that her insurance wasn’t set to start until March 1.

There were no immediate details on the cause of the fire, but police said it is not considered suspicious.

The fire is the third such incident to hit southern Ontario since the beginning of the year. On Jan. 4, 43 horses perished in a stable fire in Puslinch, in what was considered a significant loss to the horse racing community in southern Ontario.

With a report by CTV Kitchener’s Allison Tanner



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