As many as 10 horses are believed to have died in a massive barn fire in northwest suburban McHenry.
The five-alarm Wednesday evening fire destroyed a barn at the M&R Overlook Farms
and sent nearly three dozen horses scrambling.
"A young girl, a teenager, was riding her horse out here in the pasture, and she saw the flames coming from the barn, so she jumped off her horse, left her horse there, with saddles, reigns, everything. [She] just jumped off and ran and started hauling all the horses out," said witness Dixie Von Helms.
The fire started about 5 p.m. in the 25,000-square-foot metal barn at 101 Bay Rd. in unincorporated McHenry Township. With no hydrants, water had to be trucked in.
"The fire worked its way from the south all the way to the north very, very quickly. There was a little bit of a breeze that helped blow the fire through the barn," said Chief Tony Huemann.
The barn reportedly had 31 horses inside and many were running around while firefighters battled the flames, said McHenry Township Fire Protection District Lt. Tom Ruggero. Some horses may have ran off the property. Officials said they plan to use helicopters to search the area.
The award-winning stable trains and shows Arabian horses for competitions. Its owner was not reachable Wednesday evening.
Firefighters controlled the blaze about 7 p.m., but remained on the scene for hours spraying hot spots, the lieutenant said.
The barn sustained "heavy damage," Ruggero said. "I can’t imagine they will sustain much of it.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the name of the stables.