A mid-morning fire on April 1 killed nine Thoroughbreds at McKathan Farms in Reddick, Fla., according to the Ocala Star-Banner.
Eight additional horses were rescued, but J.B. McKathan, son of owners James “Luke” and Jocelyn McKathan, told the Star-Banner three of those horses suffered from burns. He was unsure of their fate.
A farm employee experienced some first and second decree burns while retrieving some of the horses but did not go to the hospital. No other people were injured.
The Marion County Fire Department received the call at 10:31 a.m. and arrived minutes later to find three-quarters of the barn in flames. They got the fire under control within half an hour.
Jessica Greene, spokeswoman for the fire department, told the Star-Banner the cause of the fire is under investigation but is unknown at this time. They do not suspect foul play.
The McKathans owned the nine deceased Thoroughbred horses. The family has a long history of training and racing both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. Luke managed several Quarter Horse racing farms in south Florida and Georgia before settling in the Ocala area. J.B. and his brother Kevin run McKathan Brothers, a training operation based in Citra, Fla.