SYLMAR (CBSLA) — Forty horses — captured on tape being spooked and panicked during a brush fire that came dangerously close to their ranch Thursday evening — all made it to safety.
CBS2/KCAL9 photographer Jacob Jenkins was covering the fire in Sylmar Thursday evening when he came upon the horses pacing back and forth at the Equestrian Center at Saddletree Ranch.
Flames overtook the center and the horses could be seen pacing back and forth nervously not exactly sure what to do or where to go.
Meanwhile, a worker at the center put out a call for help on social media and the community responded.
Alejo Morales told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Tom Wait that the fire came fast and furious.
“I went to get some sodas down at the liquor store,” he says, “and when I came [back up], I saw big smoke.”
The staff jumped into action but the flames were overwhelming and they clearly needed a hand to help rescue the horses.
“No matter how good you prepare, which we had,” said ranch worker Horacio Diaz,”plans for how to get in and get out in case of fire, but fire like he mentioned, it was too fast.”
Morales put put an emergency message on social media. Friends of the ranch, strangers all showed up with trailers to help with the transport of the horses.
“We had a lot of friends that came through and helped us,” Morales says,”We started getting phone calls and [more] phone calls, and people just started piling up and getting the horses [out.] ”
Diaz said the response was awesome.
“We had big trailers so we just got horses in and out,” Diaz says.
Incredibly, all the animals were safely evacuated.
“We want to thank the whole community,” says Diaz, “for helping us out. They really came through for us.”
The staff was also able to beat back some of the flames that ended up hitting the ranch using hoses and water on the property.
There was some bad news to report. Wait said the center was hit by looters who took several thousand dollars worth of property during the horse rescue operation.
“Hopefully,” Wait reported, “the community can help them out.”