More than a dozen horses die in barn fire

Authorities say more than a dozen Arabian horses died in a Montgomery County barn fire

August 12, 2011 10:00:07 AM PDT
More than a dozen horses perished in a barn fire in Magnolia Tuesday morning. Some were prize horses, worth tens of thousands of dollars. Money aside, it's a devastating loss for the owners.

It was a huge loss not only emotionally, but also financially for the family. The Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office says shortly after 6am Tuesday, there were reports of a large barn on fire at FM 1488 and Superior Rd. The horses were insured, but the barn wasn't. However, the owners are planning to rebuild.

Jennifer Goslin and her husband, Fred, are facing the toughest day of their lives.

"It's kinda like your people or losing a child," she said.

For 16 years, they've raised and trained show and race horses at a barn the size of a football field. It burned to the ground in an early Tuesday morning fire, killing half of the animals and injuring several others. Out of 28, 14 survived and one one is still missing.

"They're great animals, and you can use them as teaching tools, all the horses you can use to teach special needs children or it doesn't really matter -- anybody," Goslin said.

Passers-by and neighbors were able to open outer stalls and release some horses, while other neighbors and firefighters actually entered the burning building, opening additional interior stalls under heavy fire and smoke conditions, fire marshals say.

Goslin lost five of her personal horses. Among them is a mare she named Prissy. Those who ride and train there say they've lost 13 friends -- horses they adored. Most were Arabian or half Arabian, and some are worth as much as $100,000. But to their owners, they were priceless.

"This is a tough one. They are great, fantastic, loving animals. To us, they're like humans," client Mark Patrick said.

Neighbors and clients of the Goslin Nix Training Center fought to get as many horses out as they could, as did the firefighters.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but investigators suspect it could have been an electrical fire caused by a portable fan used to keep the horses cool.

"Those fans are not designed to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Montgomery County Assistant Fire Marshal Scott Burlin said.

The fire marshal's office wants other barn owners to be aware of the danger, and consider installing a sprinkler system to prevent this from happening to them. Most barns don't have sprinklers because they're expensive, but the cost of not having one can be far greater.

How to help

Since news of the fire broke, a couple of organizations have jumped in to try to help the horse owners.

  • A fund has been set up for the horse owners. through the Arabian Horsemens Distress Fund. If you're interested in helping, log onto and leave a forward note 'to Goslin family."
  • The Bay Area Equestrian Center has set up an estate sale and fundraiser Saturday from 8am until 2pm 1908 east broadway 1908 East Broadway.

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