Several horses have died in a “suspicious” fire at a stable in Essex, police said.
Passers-by alerted Essex fire and rescue to the large fire in Elmwood Equestrian Centre at around 11.30pm on Sunday night.
But when firefighters arrived at the scene, the flames had already taken hold and the roof of the building had collapsed.
Firefighters said 12 horses were believed to have died, and they have launched an investigation.
It is thought that 12 horses died in this fire last night. The cause of the fire is still unknown at this stage. The investigation is underway. https://t.co/v0AuZGTs4E
— Essex Fire Service (@ECFRS) December 4, 2017
Station Manager Craig McLellan said: “When firefighters arrived they found the fire was already well developed. The whole building was alight and the roof had collapsed.
“Firefighters worked hard to tackle the fire and stop it from spreading to any other building. However, despite the best efforts of passers-by who managed to save a number of horses from the building, some horses have tragically died at the scene.”
Firefighters were still damping down at 8am today, and said they do not yet know the cause of the fire.
Police said they are treating the fire as suspicious.
Essex Police tweeted: “We were called by the fire service shortly before 12.30am today to reports of a fire at Elmwood Equestrian Centre in #Burnham. A number of horses have died as a result of the fire.
“The fire is being treated as suspicious and investigations are taking place to determine the cause.”