‘The floor was melting’: Arsonists target stables with horses inside

  • Police are appealing for witnesses after arsonists set light to three stables with horses inside.

    Rosemarie Bailey discovered the blaze, at Furlong Lane Stables, West Yorkshire, when she arrived to feed the horses on Saturday morning (14 January).

    Fellow owner Lynne Holbrook arrived at the stables after Rosemarie notified her of the fire.

    Her horse, 25-year-old gelding Topper (pictured below), was one of three horses whose stables had been set on fire.

    “Hay had been put over each stable door, squirted with lighter fluid and set alight,” Lynne told H&H.

    “The stables have top doors which hook open, but are rarely used so they’re fastened back with tie wraps in case of high winds. These had been cut so that the doors could be closed.

    “A large round bale of hay was rolled out like a carpet along the front of the stables and the remaining centre piece pushed up to Topper’s door.

    “This was all then set on fire. Topper’s stable, more sheltered and with more hay outside, had caught fire badly.”

    The fire service was called and before they arrived Lynne managed to get into Topper’s stable.

    “I pushed the hay roll, still on fire, away from his door and saw that practically all of his door had burnt away along with the front of his stable,” she said.

    “I managed to get in, melting my boot soles in the process. Topper was stood as far back as he possibly could like a statue.

    “I was crying by this time and I hugged him and them stood next to him. I knew I couldn’t get him out because of the fire.

    “Both the front roof supports had completely burnt through and the roof was sagging in.

    “His window, 15mm thick acrylic, had melted into a puddle along with his treat ball and his rubber floor was sticky up to his hooves.”

    Firefighters arrived and began dousing the hay and dragging it away from stables.

    When a path had been cleared the horses were led out. They were checked over and had not been injured.

    “I should have been smiling at that point but I just sat down on a bench and sobbed,” said Lynne.

    “How could someone look into our horses’ faces then set their hay on fire, close them in and walk away, leaving them to burn.

    “I have no words that can tell you how that makes me feel. They have to really be full of hate.”

    The horses have since been kept out in their field.

    West Yorkshire Police is appealing for any witnesses.

    “If anyone saw or heard anyting in that area in that time please ring 101 and quote the crime number 13170020511,” said a police spokesman.

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