MANSFIELD, OH - Mansfield Fire Investigators and the State Fire Marshal have determined that Saturday's blaze that killed 8 horses at the Richland County Fairgrounds was not intentionally set.
The barn was so badly destroyed that the actual cause and origin of the fire could not be determined.
According to Mansfield Fire Captain Mark Sieving, the blaze broke out around 4 a. m. at a barn housing race horses.
There were 8 horses in the barn at the time of the fire, none survived, Captain Sieving says the horses were pacers or trotters.
The barn is owned by Charlie Cochran of Mansfield. He had just returned to the barn early Saturday morning after racing his horses at Scioto Downs in Columbus Ohio. It was just hours later he received a call from someone that his barn was on fire.
"It was devastating. I knew it was a total loss. The barn was completely destroyed" said Cochran.
"I talked to one of the firemen who was first on the scene and he said both end doors of the barn about two feet off of the ground. At that point they knew they could not make entry into the barn" said Don Daugherty, who works at the fairgrounds.
This weekend's fire follows a rash of summer arsons. The Mansfield Fire Department has been called out to a large number of vacant house and vacant garage fires, which were all arsons.
The Richland County Fairgrounds is located at 750 N. Home Road in Mansfield, Ohio.