Over 24 racehorses were killed in a barn fire at the Tioga Downs Casino & Resort in upstate New York on November 9. The fire was believed to have been set intentionally. The casino and track are located in the Town of Nichols, near the Pennsylvania border and approximately 150 miles northwest of New York City, with a population of 2,500 people. According to authorities, the horses were killed after the barn at the complex was set on fire.
Following an investigation, a 32-year-old man from Athens, Pennsylvania was accused of burglary, arson, and other charges. State police reported that an individual entered the barn and intentionally set the fire, causing extensive damage. The motive behind the act was not disclosed. Additionally, one person who tried to save the horses suffered second-degree burns and was taken to the Robert Packer Hospital for treatment.
An online charity event was organized to help those injured in the fire, surpassing its original goal of $50,000 and reaching over $120,000 in donations by November 11. The president of American Racing and Entertainment LLC, which manages the Tioga Downs Casino Resort property, expressed deep sadness over the tragedy. The investigation is currently ongoing, and further comments were not provided at the time.
Tioga Downs Casino & Resort includes a 161-room luxury hotel, casino, arcade, spa & fitness center, 5 restaurants and two lounges, indoor heated saltwater pool and outdoor pools with a water slide and cabana bar, an 18-hole golf course and country club, a flexible event center for meetings and concerts, and a parking garage.
The incident has sparked outrage and concern for the welfare of racehorses and the individuals involved in the tragedy. The community and online supporters have come together to provide aid and express their condolences to those affected.