Fire kills 21 horses at stables in New York

Cause of barn blaze under investigation


NEW YORK - Fire officials were investigating yesterday the cause of a fire that killed 21 horses and destroyed the Bergen Beach Stables, a century-old horse barn in the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn.

The two-alarm fire broke out shortly before midnight Friday, engulfing the wooden 46-stall barn in 30-foot flames. Firefighters brought the fire under control by 1 a.m., fire officials said yesterday.

First Deputy Fire Commissioner William Feehan said investigators had no evidence of foul play, but officials had not determined how the fire had started. Barns are not required to have a sprinkler system, he said, and the barn was filled with hay, so flames moved furiously through the stables.

Firefighters rescued two of the 24 horses in the barn, including a severely burned pony belonging to the owner of the stables, Karen Facciolo. She got a call from a neighbor and arrived before the Fire Department, watching in horror as the stables went up in flames with the horses trapped in their stalls. A couple who live next to the barn saw smoke rising from the stables and rescued one horse by ripping apart the door to its stall.

"The whole top of the barn was up in flames," said Facciolo, who has owned the stables for 16 years. "It was gone, gone. The middle of the barn looked like a volcano."

Horse owners who were in the barn hours before the fire said all the electricity had been shut off when the horses were put in their stalls for the night and no flammable liquids were kept inside the stables.

Bergen Beach was the last of three sets of stables in the neighborhood.

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