Two horses were directly killed in a barn fire and three others had to be euthanized following a vet’s assessment.

“It was an involved fire – several horses were already being rescued by staff on scene and police officers also took part in the rescue,” said Sgt. Ellie Bale with the Halton Police.

The fire ripped through the First Line Training Centre on the corner of Arkell Road and First Line Nassagaweya in Milton.

“The far side of the barn was fully involved,” said Fire Chief Dave Pratt of the Milton Fire Department. “With the conditions in the barn you had to be on air meaning that you had your SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) on…so they worked diligently to get 38 horses out.”

Officials on scene say there 40 horses inside the stable and all the stalls were full.

“There was a fireman that was quite good with horses. He was able to bring some out he was sending them off to people. They were putting on halters and lead chains and taking them off to other barns or areas where they could be away from the fire,” said Sgt. Bale.

The exact cause of the fire is not yet known but fire crews noticed a tractor outside the the building was plugged in.

“It had block heater in it. That appears to me to be the source but we’ll bring the investigation team up first thing in the morning,” the fire chief said.

“It could have been even more tragic than it is had it not been for all the horse people that were on scene here helping out,” said Sgt. Bale.