12 horses killed in Lake Worth barn fire

11 horses rescued; 2 remain in critical condition

LAKE WORTH, Fla. – A dozen horses were killed in an overnight barn fire in Lake Worth.

The fire was reported just before midnight at the South Florida Trotting Center, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said.

Annmarie Daley, manager of the center, said there were 23 horses inside the barn at the time. She said 11 horses were rescued, but 12 others didn't make it.

The horses were being groomed for big stakes races.

Trainers and groomers returning from a race in Pompano Beach ran into the burning barn to save the animals.

Daley said two of the rescued horses were in critical condition at an equine clinic in Loxahatchee.

"The rest have gone on to the rainbow, and we just have to pray for our other ones that they survive," Daley said.

Barn owner Sam Stathis said he could see from the distance that the barn was "lit like a Fourth of July."

"I want to absorb as much of the pain for the people and the horses," Stathis said. "I want to be as strong as I (can). My heart is broken."

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said the cause of the fire was accidental.

About the Authors:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.