10 horses die in Burton barn fire, investigators say the cause i - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

10 horses die in Burton barn fire, investigators say the cause is suspicious

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BURTON (WJRT) -

(02/20/13) - Burton Police have made an arrest in connection with a large barn fire that killed at least 10 horses.

Reports say police are seeking animal cruelty and arson charges against juvenile, who was arrested Thursday.

The fire happened around 4 Wednesday morning on Lippincott Boulevard, near Belsay Road.

Sgt. John Richards, the acting fire marshal with the Michigan State Police, told ABC12 on Wednesday that the fire is suspicious and results from lab tests are now needed to reveal exactly how the fire started.

It was the third fire in recent days and because of that, the electricity had been shut off prior to Wednesday's incident, which raised suspicions.

"First fire was in January. We had one probably a week and a half ago, which was a minor fire. First fire was in the barn here to the west of us. Then second one was in the same barn that burnt this time," said Kenneth Gould, Deputy Burton Fire Chief.

State fire investigators brought an accelerant dog to the property Wednesday to scour the scene. Sgt. Richards says those lab tests could take 8-12 weeks.

Investigators say three horses survived. We are told they were let out of the barn earlier in the evening.

At least two other couples housed their horses at Midnite Sun Training Center. One had five horses, the other had four. It's still not clear where who owned the tenth one that died.

"I lost my friend Spirit out here this morning, my wife lost her friend Vicki, my son just lost a horse out here that he was just starting to learn to ride, that was blind," said James Smallwood, who lost four houses in the fire. "I just hope the truth can be found out about what happened out here, this should not be like this."

Smallwood had owned his horses for nearly nine years. He says they were like his best friends.

"The riders would be out here, it was like one big family," Smallwood said.

The horses were dear to Michael Padilla's late mother. She owned one of the animals that didn't make it out alive.

"I was out here every single day with my mom for seven plus years helping her. The stallion in there, his name was San Stone Bay, he was my mom's horse until a few years ago. He was a top 10 national champion stallion, he was really special," said Michael Padilla, a former horse trainer.

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