Dozens of racehorses were killed and one person was injured trying to save the animals trapped in an “intentionally set” fire, New York State Police said.
Now, 32-year-old Boyd Fenton of Athens, Pennsylvania, has been charged, police said Nov. 9.
Fenton faces charges of arson, assault, burglary and criminal mischief following the barn fire in Nichols, police said.
Investigators said Fenton entered the barn at the Tioga Downs Casino complex in the early-morning hours of Nov. 9 and intentionally set the fire.
It caused thousands of dollars in damage and the loss of over two dozen horses, according to the release.
One person sustained second-degree burns trying to save the trapped horses and was taken to a hospital.
“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragedy, it was a loss no one could have imagined or expected,” Jeff Gural, chairman of the American Racing and Entertainment, said in a statement posted to Facebook. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude for all of the first responders who rushed to our aid, we have a wonderful community and we are honored to be part of it.”
He added that due to the investigation, he could not comment further.
“This is absolutely heartbreaking,” one person wrote on Facebook. “Such beautiful amazing animals. No animal should ever have to suffer like these horses did.”
The community received an outpouring of support after the fire. A GoFundMe fundraiser was set up to raise money for those who lost their racehorses in the fire.
“Tioga Downs suffered an unimaginable loss this morning as many horseman lost horses, belongings and years of memories in a tragic barn fire,” the fundraiser says.
Fenton was arraigned before a judge and booked at the Tioga County Jail.
Nichols is a town near the New York-Pennsylvania state line.