More than a dozen horses were killed in a barn fire in a southwest Chicago suburb early Wednesday morning.
Authorities said just after 1 a.m. they responded to a barn fire in Plainfield in the 1120 Wheeler Road where horse owners were trying to rescue horses from the blaze.
According to Mary Ludemann with the Plainfield Fire Protection District, a total of 18 horses were killed in the flames. There were 30 horses inside the barn when the fire started, Ludemann said.
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Two people were injured while trying to rescue the horses, officials said. They were transported to local medical facilities for treatment but their conditions were not immediately known.
A veterinarian was at the scene treating the surviving horses, according to Fire Chief David Riddle.
"These are pets that are part of people's families," Riddle said. "It's hard to imagine the suffering of the animals."
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Wednesday morning, but authorities said the barn was a "total loss."
Investigators are looking into whether or not fireworks may have played a role, Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said, adding that nothing so far leads them to believe the fire was suspicious.
"[The owners] think of [the horses] as their children," Konopek said. "They are very emotional."
Ridge Road was closed in the area as firefighters battled the blaze and Wheeler Road was shut down in front of the barn.
Plainfield is located about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.
Check back for details on this developing story.