- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

PLAINFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Stable and horse owners are rallying to help after a fire at a boarding facility in suburban Chicago killed 18 horses.

The fire was reported early Wednesday at Del Real Stables near Plainfield, a village about 30 miles southwest of Chicago. Two people were injured while trying to rescue horses from the fire, which gutted a sprawling bar on the property.

Plainfield Fire Deputy Chief Jon Stratton said 30 horses were at the facility during the fire.

Laura Powers, a veterinarian at Premier Equine Veterinary Service, is helping care for the 12 surviving horses. Powers said the animals’ conditions will get worse before they get better, noting: “We’re keeping a close eye on them.”

She said people who lost their horses are among those helping people whose horses were injured.

“It’s amazing how everyone is trying to come together and do the best they can right now,” she said.

Horse owner Kathleen Oots brought apples and straw to the barn. She said the facility’s owner “cared for the horses really well” and was working to fix up the facility after opening it last year.

Powers said the stable’s owners were stunned and are still coming to terms with what they lost in the fire.

“It touches everyone deeply. No one wants to be in that situation,” she said.

Authorities believe the fire started in a straw trailer next to the barn, but the cause of blaze remains under investigation. The Plainfield Fire Protection District reported that it doesn’t yet have a preliminary indication of how the fire may have started.

The district’s fire marshal, Mary Kay Ludemann, said eight fire departments helped by shuttling water to smother the fire. She said the blaze was huge.

“It was a horrible scene,” she said.

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