35 horses die in fire at Happy Valley Farms - CBS46 News

35 horses die in fire at Happy Valley Farms

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Thirty-five show horses died in a fire on Thursday at Happy Valley Farms in Walker County.

According to Glenn Allen of the fire and insurance commissioner's office, two stables were destroyed around 8:30 p.m. At the height of the blaze, about 50 firefighters were on the scene.

The horses were all American Saddle-bred horses owned by Bit Hutcheson.

"Ms. Hutcheson is doing as well as can be expected. She's awfully numb right now," said Danny Jenner, trainer.

Jenner said he was one of the first to arrive at the barn after it caught fire. He and another trainer were able to save one horse before the smoke pushed them out. Jenner said the barn was fully engulfed in 20 minutes.

"There was no screaming from the horses, so you know they were dead before the fire hit them. The smoke hit them first," Jenner said.

"It's like losing 35 members of your family, and it's devastating," Jenner said.

Hutcheson's friends said she is considered one of the leading women in the business and one of the leading breeders for horses.

"It's horrible. It's something that will be felt for a long time. They're like children to someone like her, big children," friend Pat Pearson said.

Allen says some of the horses were worth a quarter of a million dollars and combined with three buildings that were destroyed, the loss is upwards of $6 million.

The fire remains under investigation. Fire investigators said it does not appear suspicious, and they have also ruled out lightning as a cause.

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