Horse trailer catches fire; discarded cigarette to blame


Horse trailerSix Thoroughbred racehorses were killed Friday when the commercial trailer they were riding in caught fire. Firefighters responding on the scene found that the fire was likely caused by a lit cigarette tossed out the window of another vehicle. The cigarette ignited the hay in the trailer and the fire spread quickly.

The young horses were on their way to Belmont Park in New York where they were to begin race training. The incident occurred on I-95 in North Carolina. The road was closed for about 45 minutes after the fire occurred.

The driver of the trailer pulled over when she saw smoke on the trailer’s onboard camera. She and the backup driver tried to extinguish the flames and unload the horses, but they were unsuccessful. One of the drivers sustained minor injuries during the rescue attempt. Firefighters responded to the fire, but the trailer was already engulfed in flames by the time they arrived.

Further Reading
Road Emergency
Trailering Checklist


  1. Thats horrible. I have had people throw their cigarette butts out their window and come into my car. There have also been forest fires started this way. I just don’t understand why they can’t use their ashtray. I hope they can find out who did this. I have more to say, but its to harsh to put on here. Shame on the smokers who are so careless. Its bad enough we have to breath second hand smoke.

  2. we were coming up thru that same area that night and hit a large pc of metal that other cars were hitting and causing sparks. The metal punctured the sidewall of our tire and caused us to spend the night in a hotel and get it fixed int he morning…just wondering if this could have been the case with the horse trailer too, that the flames started because of sparks??? we called 911 and made a report of debris in the road, many people hit it…

  3. yes this is all over the web. I cant even begin to explain how terible it would be to stand there and watch your horses all die i would rather take there place!

  4. how aweful. i have heard of a tossed cigarette butt being the cause of a load of hay in route catching on fire, but that’s it. so sad those horses dying. why doesnt people STOP tossing their cigarettes out the window??!!!! all vehicles have ash trays!! smokers are so careless, whether its breathing smoke in the face of those who dont smoke, or throwing the butts on the ground. they dont care!! argh!! this makes me angry.

  5. thats really sad.. i hate hearing abou tthings like this that happens to horses. cause theres nothing they can do :(…

  6. OMG!!!!! How inconsiderate and irresisponsible of that passing motorist! How’d he/she would like it if I threw a match into a wooden box he/she was trapped in? Not very much, I can tell you that! OMG!!!! I hope the horses rest in peace, may Horse God be with them…..

  7. This is so horrible. I hope the people who did this know what happened. People are so inconsiderate and dont think before they do anything. Those poor horses couldnt do anything about it. May God be with them. Rest their souls.


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