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    After massive barn fire kills at least 44 horses in Ohio, donors raise $350,000 for victims

    By Natalie Neysa Alund and Bob Vitale, USA TODAY NETWORK,


    The cause of a barn fire that killed at 44 horses and seriously injured a man in northwest Ohio remained under investigation Thursday. Meanwhile, online donations from three fundraisers had topped nearly $350,000 to help those affected in the deadly blaze.

    The fire broke out over the weekend in Logan County, about 70 miles northwest of Columbus.

    The fire was reported to the Logan County Sheriff's Office at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, a dispatcher for the agency told The Columbus Dispatch , part of the USA TODAY Network.
    The fire destroyed a barn and at least 43 horses were known dead. Barbara J. Perenic, Barbara J. Perenic/Dispatch

    According to information from the Richmond Township Fire Department, the fire destroyed a barn used by two Logan County performance-horse businesses.

    "We are waiting on the cause of the fire to be determined by the state fire marshals' office," Fire Chief Dustin Plikerd told USA TODAY Thursday. The origin of the fire also remained under investigation, the chief said, adding foul play was not suspected.

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    Crews from three counties responded to massive barn blaze

    Assistant Fire Chief Jason Johns, who works for the department in Belle Center, said firefighters from three counties responded to Brant Performance Horses, along State Route 638.

    "It was too far gone when we got there," Johns said of the 60,000-square-foot-barn with stalls, a performing arena, and living quarters for employees, who lost their belongings.

    Johns said crews remained on scene until about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

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    Business owner injured trying to save horses from blazing barn

    Eric Priest, who operates Priest Performance Horses of Belle Center, was trying to save his clients' horses from inside the burning barn when he was injured, according to Jamie Miller, who organized an online fundraiser to help Priest with medical bills and more.

    Priest suffered second-degree burns to his arms, back and head from rushing in to try and free as many horses as possible, Miller wrote. She said Priest was expected to be hospitalized for about two weeks.

    As of Thursday, more than $50,000 had been donated to that fundraiser.

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    Two other fundraisers created to help after Ohio barn fire

    Another fundraising page set up by Kelsey Huffman for Brant Performance Horses owners Brandon and Cathy Brant, listed as the owners of the property, raised more than $280,000 as of Thursday morning.

    At that same time, a third fundraiser, created by Jen Bishop, Support Priest Performance Horses After Barn Fire , established by Jen Bishop, had raised more than $8,100.

    Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X @nataliealund. Reach Bob Vitale at .

    This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: After massive barn fire kills at least 44 horses in Ohio, donors raise $350,000 for victims

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