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44 horses die, 1 person injured in massive barn fire in Ohio

The cause of the fire that destroyed the building is currently under investigation.

About 44 horses were killed and one person was seriously injured when a fire engulfed a horse stable in Logan County, Ohio on Saturday.

Brant Performance Horses, located near Belle Center, Ohio, about an hour northwest of Columbus, used a 55,000-square-foot barn that housed about 85 horses, as well as an area for horse performances and living quarters for employees.

Firefighters from Logan, Hardin and Union counties worked together to extinguish the barn fire, according to Jason Johns, assistant fire chief of the Richland Township Fire Department.

According to Cathy Brant of Brant Performance Horses, the fire was first noticed by a Brant Performance Horses employee around noon on Saturday.

“An employee was in the barn, saw smoke and yelled ‘fire,'” Brant told ABC News. She said just seconds later there was an explosion that sparked a larger fire.

Eric Priest, owner of Priest Performances Horses in Belle Center, who stabled some of his horses, ran in to free the horses and was caught in the blast. He suffered second- and third-degree burns to his arms, back and head, according to Brant, and may need surgery.

On Saturday, firefighters were on site for about 12 hours. “Slowly but surely we were able to calm the fire,” Johns told ABC News. “The building was already beginning to collapse and it was no longer safe to enter.”

Four employees lived in the building and lost everything, Brant said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A GoFundMe page set up for the owners of Brant Performance Horses had raised just over $235,000 as of Monday afternoon, while two GoFundMe pages set up for the owners of Priest Performance Horses had raised a combined nearly $40,000 as of Monday afternoon.

“The level of support is incredible,” Brant said, adding that the money will be used to rebuild the property. In the meantime, the business will operate from another barn 40 minutes north, she said.