Raging fire kills 35 horses, destroys stables in Rossville

Raging fire kills 35 horses, destroys stables in Rossville

Posted: Updated:
ROSSVILLE, Ga. -

A massive fire killed 35 horses at a Walker County horse farm in northwest Georgia, the Georgia Fire Marshal confirmed Friday.

The fire started about 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Rossville's Happy Valley Farms at 289 Hutcheson Road. Raging flames destroyed two stables and a storage building on the property.

Trainer Danny Jenner says he rushed to the fire, but there was no time to reach the fire extinguishers or fire hoses in the buildings. He says he and another trainer managed to get only one horse out.

"It's very hard to get a horse out of a fire," Jenner said.

Fire investigators say the blaze spread too quickly and because of the thick, dark smoke, the trainer could not save any others.

It took nearly 40 firefighters to finally knock down the fire.

No people were injured in the fire.

The horses killed included four studs and several other state and world champion show horses. Some were valued as much as $250,000 each.

"Our estimation is that this loss is somewhere around $6 million," said Georgia Insurance Commission Ralph Hudgens.

Officials said the barns were insured for $1.2 million. The horses were reportedly not insured.

Jenner says the owner, Marian "Bit" Hutcheson, is trying to find solace in her new brood of yearlings and 2-year-olds.

"As far as the farm goes, there are more babies coming along and that progression will not stop," Jenner said. "We're just all devastated and hopefully Miss Hutcheson will be out and about soon."

State fire officials have not confirmed what sparked the fire. ATF agents are taking part in the investigation. They say so far, it does not appear to be arson.  It could be a number of days before the cause is determined, they said.

Rossville is about 115 miles northwest of Atlanta, near the Tennessee border.

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