- Associated Press - Monday, March 10, 2014

CALIFORNIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Officials say nearly three-dozen racehorses died when a barn caught fire in southern Michigan.

Montgomery Fire Chief Brad Freeburn tells WCSR-AM-FM the structure was engulfed in flames when crews arrived Saturday afternoon. A passer-by spotted smoke and called 911 around 12:30 p.m.

According to Freeburn, the barn is owned by an Angola, Ind., man who trains horses at the facility in Branch County’s California Township. The 35 horses that died belonged to the man’s clients.

The chief says the fire likely was sparked by an electrical malfunction, but remains under investigation.

WTVB-AM-FM reports the barn was declared a total loss.

Freeburn says the owner wasn’t there when the fire broke out.

California Township sits along Michigan’s southern boundary about 100 miles southwest of Detroit.

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