Death of 17 horses ‘devastating’ to B.C. horse racing
Published Monday, June 2, 2014 8:27AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, June 2, 2014 7:04PM PDT
A stable fire that killed 17 horses is being called a devastating loss for the B.C. horse racing community.
The animals died after fire tore through a barn in Langley on Sunday afternoon.
More than 40 firefighters attended the fire, on the property at 224th Street near 40th Avenue, which is also home to the All Seasons Mushroom Farm.
According to the fire department, the barn was made of wood and tin and the hay on site also helped fuel the flames.
“It’s very, very devastating for all of standard-bred racing in B.C.,” said Jackson Wittup with Harness Racing B.C.
“I spoke to the trainer Bill Davis this morning and he's still in shock.”
The Davis family is described by friends as a prominent horse racing family in Langley with over 35 years’ experience.
Wittup said it's believed most of the horses belonged to a very prominent local owner who had partnered up with the well-known trainer about a year ago.
He says along with the leased barn there is also a training track on the property.
“The majority of them were young horses that are two years olds coming up and trying to get ready to race at Fraser Downs in September.”
Officials say determining the cause may be difficult because of the extent of the damage. The building was fully involved and parts of the roof had caved in by the time crews arrived.
One cat and a miniature horse – a family pet -- also perished in the blaze.
How to help
Tanis Pearson, a spokesperson for the Davis family, said they lost $100,000 and “their entire livelihood” in this weekend’s fire.
“They are leaders in the racing industry and pioneers in their exceptional horsemanship, this is such a huge tragedy,” she told CTV News.
A charity pub night is slated for June 18 at the Langley Town Hall to raise money for the family. Tickets can be purchased at A&T Equestrian at 4615 190 Street, Cloverdale.
Equipment for harness racing, including buckets, halters, stall gates, fly masks and grooming kits can also be dropped off at the facility.
Donations can also be made to "The Davis Family Trust" at any Aldergrove Credit Union. Money or E-transfers can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the password ‘mornasbigboy’. Donations can also be made through Harness Racing BC or by contacting Walter Slopianka at email@example.com.