'Traumatised' families mourn horses killed in Upminster stables fire
- Credit: Julie Amrani
Families affected by a fire at an Upminster stables have spoken out about the tragic incident which killed two horses.
Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were called to Chapman's Farm's stables, which usually house six horses, on Hall Lane just before 4.40am on May 2 to attend the blaze.
Upminster mother-of-two Julie Amrani - who owned the horses that died, Tango and Bond - is devastated.
She told this paper: “They were our life.
“We are completely lost and empty without them.”
Julie, husband Jason and daughters Molly, 17, and Macey, 11, live just behind the field which housed their horses. The girls would tend to the animals twice a day and ride them three or four times a week.
The family bought Tango six years ago, and their children learnt to ride on the white pony.
“He taught my girls everything they know, he was such an amazing horse,” Julie explained.
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She said Molly, who owned Bond, and Macey, Tango’s owner, were “traumatised” by the fire, and have been off work and school since the incident.
“Looking after them was the girls’ lives,” Julie added.
Describing the night of the fire, she thought she smelt a bonfire soon after she went to bed on Saturday evening (May 1), but was woken around 4.40am by fellow horse owner Charlotte, who did not want to give her surname, who had been called to the scene.
Julie ran up to her daughter’s room, and from the window she could see the flames from the stables.
She hoped the horses had escaped, but when she reached the stables she realised the flames were too high to save the animals.
Charlotte, who received a call from neighbours next to the stables and rushed to the scene with her husband, son and daughter Kelsey, also recalled the intensity of the blaze when she arrived.
The devastated mother said: “A firefighter said take a 'deep breath because it is going to be a shock when you see what’s happened’.
“It was all on fire, where the horses were. It still chokes me up to talk about it.”
She added: “It was like a big bad dream.”
Kelsey’s horse Mikey and Charlotte’s horse Tinkerbell were in the field behind the stables with a third horse and were not hurt in the blaze.
Charlotte said it was too late to help Tango and Bond, but she managed to save a third horse, Rose, by leading the shaking animal out of the stables.
Lynn Fogerty, whose 18-year-old daughter Niamh owns Rose, said she had mixed feelings about that night.
She explained: “It was a bitter-sweet moment because the two young girls who lost their horses were absolutely devastated.
“It was something we worried about but we would never actually think it could happen to us."
When Lynn arrived at the stables at around 5am on Sunday morning, she found the plaque on Rose’s stable door had melted in the flames, and a vet examination later found her eyes and lungs had been damaged.
Lynn said families who own horses in the stables are very close, and that their five daughters aged between 11-20 would regularly ride together.
The horse owners published a collective post on Facebook, thanking local people for their support.
As well as killing two horses, the fire destroyed the stables’ tack room, where the girls kept their equipment.
“They had spent their pocket money for years on it, and it was all gone,” Lynn added.
Only a day before the blaze, the Amrani family had finished building a new stable for their horses behind their house. They were planning on moving the animals imminently.
The local community has launched a fundraiser and brought tools to clear up the stables.
The fundraiser has already raised £700, far greater than its £250 goal.