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6 horses escape from burning barn in Rehoboth

Six horses were rushed out of a burning barn at 36 Slater St. in Rehoboth early Thursday.
Six horses were rushed out of a burning barn at 36 Slater St. in Rehoboth early Thursday.Rehoboth Fire Department (custom credit)/Rehoboth Fire Department

Six horses rushed out of a burning barn in Rehoboth shortly after midnight Thursday before a fire consumed the entire structure, the town’s fire chief said.

A passerby noticed the barn on fire at 36 Slater St. around 12:15 a.m. and called 911, Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi said.

“The roof had flames coming out of it when we came down the driveway, and we had to cut holes into the barn because it was made out of metal,” Barresi said.

John Frost, who owns the property, said the horses had run from the fire out of the barn and huddled in the center of the field. The horses are not locked in at night so it was easy for them to escape the flames, Frost said.

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The horses, one quarterhorse and five standardbred, were all uninjured, Frost said.

“I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about barn fires,” Frost said. “This thankfully wasn’t one of them.”

Firefighters had to shuttle 17,000 gallons of water from a hydrant in Attleboro to put out the blaze, Barresi said. He said the fire was under control about 20 minutes after firefighters arrived at the scene, and crews finished extinguishing the blaze around 2 a.m..

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Barresi said it did not seem suspicious.

The barn, which is located about 650 feet from the street, is a total loss, Barresi said.

Frost is the owner of Remembrance Hill Carriages, a wedding carriage service that is operated out of the property. With the exception of his carriages and a special saddle, all of Frost’s equipment went up in flames with the barn, which he built himself less than 20 years ago.

“It’s tragic to see a situation like this. I built the barn to be low-maintenance and fireproof, and it went up in flames in less than 10 or 15 minutes,” Frost said.

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Equi Evolution, an experiential learning program run by Samantha Thorpe whose clients include people with disabilities and mental health issues, also operates on Frost’s property. Thorpe said all the equipment and props used in the program were destroyed.

“I’m still in shock,” Thorpe said.

Two of the horses have been brought to another local barn, while the other four horses remain in a pasture on the property. Frost plans to house them in trailers now that the barn is gone.

Frost said other horse owners in the community have brought hay and other donations to the property today.

“We don’t know where to go from here, but people have been helping us out,” Frost said.

Caroline Enos can be reached at caroline.enos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.