Eighteen Horses Die at Barn Fire on Wheeler Rd in Southwest Plainfield

At least 18 horses were killed when a barn caught fire overnight in southwest suburban Plainfield. CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports.

Plainfield firefighters responded about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday July 5, 2017 to a report of a barn fire at Del Real Stables at 1120 Wheeler Road, according to Plainfield Deputy Fire Chief Jon Stratton.

Upon arrival, Plainfield firefighters discovered the west side of a barn fully engulfed with flames with several building exposures nearby. A nearby storage trailer holding wood shavings and sawdust was also on fire. Firefighters had three 2 1/2-inch lines on the fire by 1:40 a.m.

The fire was brought under control around 1:45 a.m.

Stable workers and horse owners were trying to rescue their animals. Two workers suffered minor injuries in the process. One was treated for smoke inhalation at a local medical facility, officials said.

There were 30 horses in the barn when the fire was discovered, and when attempts were made to evacuate all of the horses.

At least four tenders (water tankers), including an Oswego tender and a Troy tender responded to the scene to bring water to the fire. A Naperville Engine, Lockport Engine and a Minooka Ladder Truck also responded to the fire.

Fire command reported multiple exposures with vehicles with water on the fire by 1:32 a.m. but no progress as of 1:32 a.m.

The stable owner put out an alert on Facebook asking people to help find 11 missing horses that were let out during the fire. All horses were accounted for by about 7:30 a.m.

A total of eighteen horses died in the fire. Many of the owners who boarded their horses at Del Real Stables were too emotional to talk about the loss of their horses.

“With the Fourth of July, pretty much anywhere you go, there are fireworks being shot. That is something that we are looking at. Right now, we don’t have any indication that fireworks were the cause. One of the things we do is walk around the property, areas that are unaffected by the fire, especially in this circumstance, to see if there is any firework debris – paper-related to fireworks debris – left behind. As of right now, we have not found anything like that.”

— Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek

The are is not protected by fire hydrants, firefighters used tanker trucks to bring water to portable tanks, that were filled with water to extinguish the barn fire.

Firefighters from eight nearby towns helped fight the fire. Nearly seven hours later, crews were still dousing hot spots. The barn was a total loss, officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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