23 horses dead after overnight barn fire in Limestone County

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Ten horse owners woke up to a nightmare on Tuesday morning when they learned the barn where their beloved animals stay, went up in flames. The fire took the lives of 23 Tennessee Walking Horses. Ten mares and their foals were fortunately out in the pasture at the time of the fire, they are safe.

"It's hard to replace that individual horse, it's like a friend," Charles Crane, the barn's owner, said.

Crane has owned the barn for around 20 years. Now, all he can think about is the loss of the horses who made it their home.

"The hopes and desires that we got if we'd have got them out before the fire," Crane said about what was going through his head after seeing the destruction.

A horse owner tells us the group just returned from a 2-week tour of horse shows. They got back to the barn on Sunday.  Losing these talented and valuable horses causes Head Trainer Keith Nance indescribable pain.

"All I could think about were my horses," Nance said. "You know, it's hard to lose anything, a family member, a pet and a horse falls in both of those categories with us."

The cost is tremendous. No dollar amount has been assessed yet. Crane said they lost about everything: beloved horses, equipment, the building. But, friends of the horse owners aren't allowing them to whether his storm alone.

"You saw the people with the horse trailer, they'll keep them for a while until we figure out what we can do, how we get started again," Crane said of his neighbors who answered the call for help.

The cause of this fire is still under investigation. The owner of the barn tells us he doesn't live on the property; he lives in Huntsville. He drove to the property after the Limestone County Sheriff's Office called.