Wednesday, July 5, 2017

18 horses were killed in a barn fire at Del Real Stables in southwest suburban Plainfield, Illinois; the fire started from a trailer containing wood chips and straw

Eighteen horses were killed early Wednesday morning in a barn fire at Del Real Stables in southwest suburban Plainfield. (WLS)

By Evelyn Holmes
Updated 54 mins ago
PLAINFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Eighteen horses were killed early Wednesday morning in a barn fire in southwest suburban Plainfield, fire officials said.

Firefighters were called to Del Real Stables in the 1100-block of Wheeler Road around 1:15 a.m., Plainfield Deputy Fire Chief Jon Stratton said.

When they arrived, the west side of a barn was fully engulfed by flames. A nearby storage trailer containing wood shavings and sawdust was also on fire.

Stable workers and horse owners were trying to rescue their animals. Two workers suffered minor injuries in the process. One was treated for smoke inhalation at a local medical facility, officials said.

There were 30 horses in the barn at the time of the fire. The owner of the stable put out an alert on Facebook asking people to help find 11 missing horses that were let out during the fire. By around 7:30 a.m., he said all of the horses had been accounted for.

A total of eighteen horses died in the fire. Many of the owners who boarded their horses at Del Real were too emotional to talk about the loss of their animals as fire and police officials continue to investigate.

A woman who lost her 8-year-old Arabian in the fire tweeted Wednesday morning, saying that that the animal meant so much to her. She purchased the horse to help her through the death of her mother.

The fire spread before crews were able to get it under control around 1:45 a.m., Stratton said. With no hydrants in the area, firefighters used tankers full of water to try to put out the blaze.

Firefighters from eight nearby towns helped fight the fire. Nearly seven hours later, crews were still dousing hot spots. The barn was a total loss, officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"With the Fourth of July, pretty much anywhere you go, there are fireworks being shot. That is something that we are looking at. Right now, we don't have any indication that fireworks were the cause. One of the things we do is walk around the property, areas that are unaffected by the fire, especially in this circumstance, to see if there is any firework debris - paper-related to fireworks debris - left behind. As of right now, we have not found anything like that," Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said.


PLAINFIELD – A barn fire that injured two people and killed 18 horses started from a trailer containing wood chips and straw, authorities said.

But investigators are not certain if the fire started in or outside of the trailer that was on the west side of a horse barn near the intersection of Ridge Road and Wheeler Road.

Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said the investigation of the fire is ongoing.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Investigators have completed on-site work and have follow-up interviews with horse owners and witnesses, Konopek said.

"We have not ruled out anything," he said.

Owners of the property where the horse barn is located were not willing to speak, he said.

At 1:14 a.m., Plainfield firefighters responded to a report of a fire in a horse barn near the intersection of Ridge Road and Wheeler Road, according to a Plainfield Fire Protection District news release.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the barn in flames and the horse owners attempting to rescue the horses.

Two people were hurt while trying to save the horses and were sent to a local medical facility for treatment. Eighteen of the 30 horses inside the barn were killed.

"It's very sad for the owners," said Plainfield Fire Protection District Chief David Riddle,

The barn was completely destroyed and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Plainfield Fire Protection District, fire investigators from Division 15 of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, and Plainfield police.

Konopek said one horse was already outside the barn when the fire started and 12 were able to be rescued by people on the scene. He said the people reporting the fire were horse owners and workers and that maintaining the horses is a 24-hour operation.

"There's always people coming and going," he said.

Fire crews remained on the scene Wednesday morning, said Mary Ludemann, Plainfield fire inspector.

“Because it is in a rural area, there’s no hydrants,” she said. Plainfield firefighters were assisted by firefighters from Troy, Channahon, Lockport, Naperville, Oswego, Lisbon-Seward, Minooka and Rockdale