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Postby cheekymunkee » March 24th, 2006, 6:07 pm ... index.html

Two dozen horses die in stable fire
'This is like family,' New Jersey farm owner says

Friday, March 24, 2006; Posted: 4:38 p.m. EST (21:38 GMT)

UPPER FREEHOLD, New Jersey (AP) -- A fast-moving fire swept through a wooden stable at one of New Jersey's largest horse farms early Friday and killed all two dozen horses inside, including 12 foals less than a month old.

The fire at Perretti Farms apparently was caused when an electric line that keeps water in the wall-mounted troughs from freezing ignited a center stall about 1 a.m., State Police investigators said.

The wooden building, piles of hay and petroleum-based wood varnish quickly fueled the flames, state police Detective Dave Yusko said. Temperatures inside reached thousands of degrees, and the animals were quickly overcome by the smoke.

Perretti Farms staffers said a worker on hand for foaling, which happens primarily at night, noticed a puff of smoke rising from the stable, where 12 mares each shared a stall with their foals. The worker sounded an alarm, and farm manager Fidencio Cervantes ran from the house where he lives, just 500 yards from the stable.

Anthony Perretti, son of founder William Perretti, said Cervantes was devastated at being unable to rescue the horses he had nurtured.

"The farm manager was crying. He was hysterical," Perretti said, his voice breaking. "This is like family. You wait three or four years for these dreams to happen."

Among the noted animals were 6-year-old My Starchip, and 5-year-old Funny Malentine. Both were born at Perretti Farms, farm marketing director Bob Marks said.

William Perretti was a restaurateur and auto dealer before founding the farm in the late 1980s on what had been potato fields, according to Anthony Perretti and the farm's Web site.

Now stretching 900 acres, with a similarly sized farm for yearlings in Kentucky, Perretti Farms specializes in breeding and racing standardbreds, with 200 broodmares, six stallions and about 170 foals over the course of a season.

Standing in front of the charred skeleton of the stable, Marks said the combined value of the dead horses is about $1.2 million. But the loss to Cervantes, who Marks said was back at work breeding Friday afternoon, was impossible to calculate.

"He's traumatized," Marks said. "All of those horses were his babies."
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Postby Maryellen » March 24th, 2006, 6:08 pm

crap thats the 2nd one in 2 weeks here..
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Postby CinderDee » March 24th, 2006, 6:47 pm

Very sad indeed. :( I think it was the largest stable we had here.

I wonder why they didn't have a sprinkler system?
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Postby mnp13 » March 24th, 2006, 7:15 pm

how aweful, I hope the smoke overcame them quickly and they didn't suffer for long.

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Postby Sue » March 24th, 2006, 8:11 pm

I just saw that on the news tonight... I will never understand why sprinkler systems are not more common in barns. All that hay is a tragedy waiting to happen. 12 mares and 12 foals :cry1:
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Postby panda » March 24th, 2006, 8:57 pm

:cry2: that is so sad. I hope they went quickly for their sake.
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