Barn fire kills 12 Thoroughbred horses in Benton

By Katrina Webber - email | bio

BENTON, LA (KSLA) - Fire has killed a dozen Thoroughbred horses that were housed at a horse training camp in Benton.

Neighbors called 911 just before midnight Wednesday to report that a barn on Rubicon Road was engulfed in flames.

Firefighters with Benton Fire District #4 arrived a short time later and reportedly had the fire under control within about 15 minutes.

"Unfortunately, there were 12 horses trapped in their stalls here inside the barn," said Lt. Ed Baswell with the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office.  "Those horses died in the fire."

The horses, Baswell said, were used mainly as breeders.    According to several horse enthusiasts in the area, studs like them are usually worth more than racehorses, themselves.

However, people like horse trainer Joshua VanDyke, say they consider the animals to be priceless.

"Everybody just kinda has their hearts toward these horse and hope that anything else they can salvage from the barn will be all right," he said.

The horses belong to a private owner, Sandy Blackmon of Benton, Baswell said.

Investigators with the State Fire Marshal's office were called to the scene to investigate the cause of the blaze.  However, one of the investigators told KSLA News 12 they were there because of the dollar amount of the loss.

He said although they would be looking for evidence of arson, they had no immediate reason to  suspect any wrongdoing.