January 10, 2019 8:08 pm
Updated: January 10, 2019 9:20 pm

Kahnawake couple seeks help from community after fire destroys horse barn

WATCH: A Kahnawake couple is trying to rebuild their horse barn, which caught fire on Tuesday night. None of their three horses were injured, but three rabbits died in the blaze. As Global's Phil Carpenter explains, the couple had plans to open an animal therapy centre on their property.

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All that’s left of the C&C Ranch on South Texas Road in Kahnawake is the floor.

On Tuesday evening, a fire destroyed everything.

Cynthia Jacobs, who runs the place with her partner, Christopher Homer, had just left the barn and gone home.

READ MORE: Alberta horse rescue group believes 2019 could be its busiest year yet

“I saw the smoke from my house and I came out, and I just dropped to my knees,” she said.

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Two rescue rabbits that she had received not long before were still inside. Homer tried to save them.

“Well, I opened the door, the fire came out and I ducked underneath and I crawled underneath, and it was already too late,” he said, saying he burned his hand in the process.

After the flames consumed the ranch, the only survivors were three horses, all rescues, that were used as therapy for visitors. One of those visitors, Jacobs said, was a person who lost her son and her husband.

“She came by here many times to take pictures and pet the horses,” explained Jacobs, “and it’s very good therapy.”

WATCH: Horses, pigs and llamas used as therapy at Kelowna sanctuary farm

Jacobs estimates the loss at around $30,000.

“There was all the horse supplies, like saddles, their cleaning supplies, bridles, halters and 150 bales of hay,” Jacobs told Global News. “[There] were all our tools, like hammers, nails, because we were gonna extend outwards, to put smaller animals for children.”

They don’t know what started the fire, and the local fire department believes it was accidental.  Now the family is focused on starting over. One neighbour, who also uses the animals for therapy, started an online fundraising campaign to help the couple rebuild.

READ MORE: Nearly 300 farm animals dead in barn fire near Mount Forest

“With help from people in the town I’m sure it’ll kick in and come together,” Homer said.

Material has already been donated, and for now, the horses are being sheltered in a temporary three-sided shed close by, set up the night of the fire.

The couple hopes to have a permanent shelter in place before long.

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