6 horses killed in Cypress barn fire
Six horses, some of them stomping about their stalls in panic, perished in a burning barn in Cypress early Sunday, despite a desperate rescue effort by dozens of firefighters.
"They were stuck in their stalls. They were helpless," said Jason Blackman, the assistant chief for Cypress Creek Volunteer Fire Department, who fought the fire alongside 40 or 50 others. "It's been tough. It's been playing with my emotions. I'm an animal lover. I've been around horses all my life."
Three mares and three geldings died in the blaze at the tidy Ravensway Saracen Park Stables, an amenity offered to area residents.
Firefighters were able to rescue two animals — Peaches, a mule, and Grace, a paint mare - before they extinguished the blaze, which burned for nearly four hours, in part because of a fresh delivery of hay bales stacked ceiling-high in one area of the barn, Blackman said.
The Harris Count Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire, which was reported by a passer-by about 5 a.m.
Among the losses was the barn's boss mare, an Appaloosa named Crystal.
"When we heard about the fire, I didn't think she was in the barn. I thought she was out in the pen. My mom said, 'No, she was in the barn,' " said Crystal's owner, 17-year-old Brandon Warren. "At first it didn't hit me. And then I just lost it. It's just crazy, to go from kissing her one day, to losing her today. It's horrible."
Brandon, a senior at Cy-Fair High School, bought his mare himself for $1,000 when he was in seventh grade. He earned the money working at that barn, taking care of Crystal and other horses.
Cupid, a 16-hand gelding seen as the barn's gentle giant, was also killed. Ryan Knipp, who owned the quarter horse, said his four-legged friend was sweet, often trailing behind his 13-year-old little sister, who was, he said, terribly distraught by the news Sunday morning.
"She really loved him," said Ryan, a sophomore at Cy-Fair High.
April, a white Tennessee Walker, was a barn beauty, the princess type.
Brandy, a speckled, white Appaloosa, was a pleaser, a sweetie pie, the teens said.
Duke, a rescue from Louisiana, was a gentle palomino with a loyal heart.
He always welcomed his owner with a neigh and dropped his head when it was halter time.
And then there was Blizzard, a Tennessee Walker show horse with aristocratic looks, playful manner.
When it rained, Blizzard would stretch his nose up to the dripping water, splashing it on his firstname.lastname@example.org