Arson at New York Racino Kills 30 Horses, Suspect Arrested
A man has been arrested for allegedly setting fire to a barn at the Tioga Downs Casino Resort in New York. The fire, which occurred on Thursday, resulted in the deaths of 30 horses and left one person injured.
Boyd H. Fenton, 32, of Athens, Pa., was taken into custody after the blaze and has been charged with third-degree arson, third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief, and second-degree assault. Fenton appeared in local court and is currently being held at the Tioga County Jail.
The motive for the crime has not been disclosed by police. The fire, which began early Thursday, caused panic among the horses, with reports of them kicking and screaming as the flames spread. Despite efforts by a horse trainer, Edgar Clarke, to extinguish the blaze using a fire extinguisher, the flames were too extensive.
Clarke suffered second-degree burns on his face and was taken to Pennsylvania’s Robert Packer Hospital for treatment. Kayla Morris, another victim of the fire, recalled her heartbreaking experience, losing 12 horses in the blaze, including one called Better Call Saul.
Tioga Downs Casino Resort, near the Pennsylvania border, features casino gaming and harness racing. The horses that perished in the fire were often used for racing. Owner Jeff Gural extended his condolences to those affected by the tragedy and declined to comment further due to the ongoing investigation.
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to assist individuals impacted by the fire. The campaign has raised over $157,000 from 1,200 donors, surpassing the initial goal of $50,000. Gural has pledged to match up to $100,000 in contributions.
The New York State Police revealed that the fire resulted in extensive damage and was intentionally set. They offered condolences to the families impacted by the tragic incident, and thanked the multiple fire departments that responded to battle the blaze. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the future of harness racing at Tioga Downs remains uncertain.