A barn filled with thoroughbred horses was fully engulfed in flames just after noon Saturday, near the Gulfstream Polo Club in Lake Worth. Seven horses were killed, and four were injured.
The owner of the polo facility field next to the burned barn, Marcy Friedman, said the burned barn was owned by polo player Steve Orthwein.
"It's so sad," said Friedman. "Several families kept their horses there."
William Rowley, Palm Beach County Fire Battalion Chief, said the four injured horses were taken to a veterinarian and treated for burns.
"The ones that died were inside the barn," said Rowley. "The ones that were outside were the ones the vet took for treatment."
Investigators believe the fire was caused by an electrical overload inside a tack room that was used as a kitchen.
Cara Spirazza, an 18-year-old barrel racer, takes her horses to the Gulfstream Polo Club. She lost her first horse, Star, when the horse was caught under a burning tree that had been hit by lightning.
"It was honestly the worst thing that ever happened to me," said Spirazza. "So I know the feeling of these horses right now, and I don't know how people can go through it."
Spirazza said losing a horse is like losing a family member, and her heart goes out to the owner of the seven horses that were killed.
"It was like my sister, like my daughter, it was horrible," Spirazza recalled. "Honestly, it's like losing a kid. I'm sure people have lost their dogs before and that is your best friend. Your horse, if you can imagine, the bond is even stronger.