15 horses dead in Pierce County stable fire

15 horses dead in Pierce County stable fire »Play Video
PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. -- Fifteen horses have died in a fire that broke out at a stable near Parkland on Thursday night.

Officials said a 2-alarm fire broke out at Eckstein Stables, LLC in the 13100 block of Bingham Avenue East just before 7 p.m., causing a part of the structure to collapse.

No one was injured aside from the horses, which were being boarded there.

The owner of the stable said as soon as a heat detector sounded the alarm at 6:56 p.m., fire crews rushed to the scene. The nearest station was just a mile down the road, but by the time they arrived all 15 horses had died.

"This is really hard. This is really hard and I've got a lot of people I've got to explain this to," stable owner Tom Eckstein said.

"Horrible, it's horrible. I can't believe it. It's got to be a horrible way to go," said Jessica Seal.

One by one, owners of the horses rushed over to the barn where they had boarded their horses.

Missy Ashbrook lost her horse, Uno.

"He was such a big part of our lives. I just can't process right now that he's gone," she said.

Kristal Derochey lost two of her beloved animals.

"My horses just died. The whole barn went up in flames and nobody made it out," she said.

The stable was packed to the rafters with hay. Even the tiniest spark could have set the whole building ablaze.

Firefighters said they may never know the exact case of the fire, and the news is unsettling for the grief-stricken horse owners. For them, losing their horse is not unlike losing a family member.

"We built our whole life around our horse," Ashbrook said.