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16 horses die in barn fire in Toronto

Last Updated May 21, 2018 at 12:41 pm PDT

TORONTO (NEWS 1130) – Sixteen horses died in a massive fire at Sunnybook Stables In Toronto early Monday morning.

The fire broke out in two barns, engulfing one fully around 3:10 a.m.

Horse trainer Autumn Blanchard, 20, says a number of horses died in the fire. An original estimate was ten, but we now know the number of horses killed has risen.

“It’s really rough, it’s terrible. A couple of horses I actually trained myself and I’ve known them for a long time. It’s really hard hearing that kind of news this morning. Anyway, we just want to go have a look and see if we can take some home and bury them on our property,” Blanchard said.

Riders like Richard Sutton, 14, are heartbroken over the ones that didn’t make it. He’s been riding at Sunnybrook Stables since he was nine-years-old and got to know many of the horses in main barn.

“My friends who I ride with were all calling me and we were all … grieving over our favourite horses,” Sutton explained.

Some of the horses believed to have perished are Blossom, Phoenix, Dante, and Carter.

Police officers were able to get some horses safely out of the barn that was not engulfed. Thirteen horses survived and were moved to the stables at Canadian National Exhibition and are being taken care of.

Police haven’t ruled out a suspicious act since the cause of fire hasn’t been determined.

Firefighters were still dousing hotspots in the afternoon.

The park, located in Sunnybrook Park near Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue, is fully closed to both vehicles and pedestrians since there’s a chance there may horses loose in the woods.

Taylor Potts worked at the barns last year, tweeting that the horses were “wonderful” and “the main barn in particular was home to beginner-level horses – very sweet, quiet rides.”

She says the horses of the main barn were Mr T, Beau, Misty, Sugar, Gifford, Marty, Tess, Sampson, Hercules, Axel and Poomba, adding that Gifford was a “little mini horse the mascot of Sunnybrook.”

There has been no confirmation which horses died.Fire crews say they were able to save 13 horses from the fire. They’re also investigating reports of fireworks in the area overnight.

Mayor John Tory thanked fire officials and police officers for their help with the fire. He also asked for those with information on the cause to call police.

Toronto Fire originally received a phone call from someone in a nearby apartment building, notifying them of the fire.