Devastating Barn Fire Claims 44 Horses, Leaves Man Injured in Heroic Rescue Attempt

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Forty-four horses were killed and one person injured in a devastating barn fire in Belle Center, Ohio, on Saturday.

Brandon and Cathy Brant of Brant Performance Horses said the blaze trapped dozens of horses inside the barn, though “some escaped,” WBNS reported Sunday.

The couple is now dealing with the aftermath and heartache of the loss as officials work to determine the cause of the fire.

“If you do anything with livestock, this is your worst nightmare by far. There’s really no words, I have no words,” Brandon commented.

Video footage shows smoke rising into the air as fire crews responded to the scene. First responders deemed the structure unsafe to enter when they arrived, WBNS reported.

The barn also housed horses belonging to Priest Performance Horses. Its owner, Eric Priest, suffered burns while trying to rescue some of the animals.

“On behalf of both the Brant and Priest Families, we are happy to report Eric is doing well. He is still smiling and telling his same corny jokes. We love this man like family. We ask that you please think of Eric and donate to help him rebuild everything he has lost,” a post reads.

The Brant family, who train horses for reining competitions across America and had raised some of the horses from foals, estimate they lost about 85 percent of their business.

“All humans are alive, but the animals are your best friends, it’s really hard,” Cathy stated.

A photo shows the burned-out barn after the fire engulfed the structure.

Despite the tragedy, Brandon feels optimistic about the future. As of Tuesday morning, a fundraiser for their company has raised over $280,000 of its $500,000 goal, and a fundraiser for Priest has raised over $61,000.

Brandon and Cathy are grateful for all the help they have received during such a difficult time, calling it “incredible.”

Amy Furr
Amy Furr
Pre-Viral Reporter. Amy covers human interest, politics, crime, health, faith, history, wildlife, and service journalism. Previously, she was a tutor at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, TX and a freelance writer for Townhall Media.

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