A man has been arrested for starting a fire at the Tioga Downs casino complex in New York that killed 30 racehorses and caused thousands of dollars in damage.
Boyd H. Fenton, 32, was arrested Thursday following a barn fire at the Tioga Downs Casino complex. He was charged with third-degree arson, burglary, criminal coercion and assault, New York State Police said in a statement Press release.
Fenton entered the barn at the facility in Nichols, 150 northwest of New York City, early Thursday morning and intentionally started a fire, prompting police and multiple fire departments to respond, authorities said. A person who entered the burning stable to rescue horses suffered second-degree burns and was taken to hospital.
Fenton was being held at the Tioga County Correctional Facility.
“The New York State Police would like to extend its condolences to the affected individuals and families who lost their beloved animals in this tragic incident,” the agency said in its press release.
“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragedy, it was a loss that no one could have imagined or expected,” he said Jeff Gural, chairman of American Racing and Entertainment LLC, which operates the Tioga Downs Casino Resort complex. “This is an ongoing investigation, so we cannot provide any further comment at this time.”
The equestrian community mourned the loss of the horses.
“To all riders around the world, I know you are grieving and grieving,” wrote Jessica Hallett, who collects stories and photos of the horses on Facebook. “It’s hard to walk into a barn and not think about Tioga. It’s hard to watch a race without thinking of Tioga. They are there and they are with us.
“To the riders directly affected: We are all thinking of you. Nothing helps to ease the pain you feel, but everyone wants to provide as much comfort and support as possible.”
There are more than just 30 horses, she said.
“They are more than just racehorses. They were loved and cared for. They had names, nicknames and personalities. I think everyone should know that.”
Cindy Tuttle Allers said on Facebook that words cannot describe the absolute devastation and heartache.
“They weren’t just racehorses” She wrote. “They were our world, our family, my best friends. We loved each and every one of them as if they were our own.”
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