13 therapy horses killed in barn fire, criminal investigation underway

LOWELL TOWNSHIP, MICH. - Owners of the Barn for Equine Learning in Kent County have lost 13 horses and one rabbit to an early morning barn fire on Saturday. 

Authorities say crews were called to the barn, located on Timpson Avenue SE in Lowell Township, around 2:00 a.m. Saturday, April 8. They spent more than eight hours at the scene, putting out the fire and removing the horses from inside -- which died from smoke inhalation. 

While firefighters put out the fire, the owners of the Barn for Equine Learning noticed that the door of the barn was chained shut and a portion of the fence surrounding the area had been cut. The Lowell Fire Department then contacted the Kent County Sheriff's Office and Michigan State Police to further investigate the fire and it's cause.

The owners of the Barn for Equine Learning are left with two horses, that were not in the main barn because of space issues.

In a Facebook post, the owners say the barn was also destroyed in the fire and they are not sure how they will go about rebuilding. The horses lost were therapy horses -- according to the Barn for Equine Learning website, horses were used to counsel children. The Barn also offered community barn time, volunteer opportunities, riding programs and summer camps. 

Authorities are investigating this fire as a criminal matter and anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at the Kent County Sheriff's Office at 616-632-6125.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the owners rebuild their barn and purchase more horses. To donate, click here.

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer for WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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