• The animals that died in the fire include a show winning horse worth more than $20,000
  • Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson
  • A campaign has been launched to help raise funds to rebuild the barn

Six horses were charred to death after a stud farm was set on fire at Lewes in East Sussex, the U.K. on Saturday. A dog and a cat also died in the fire.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called after a fire broke out at the Quimper Stud Farm in the Rodmell area around 6 a.m. local time, said a report by BBC News. The fire crew toiled for an hour before it could douse the flames that engulfed the stable and the barn.

According to the police, two men aged 40 and 24 have been arrested on suspicion of arson. Both have been released on bail but an investigation is on. "The investigation is ongoing and anyone who saw what happened or who may have any other information is asked to contact police online or by calling 101," the police said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Barbara Joyce, the owner of the barn, is heartbroken and struggles to understand why anyone would commit such a horrific act. "They were my babies. They would see me coming through in the middle of the barn and come to see if I had got them a snack. The stuff that's gone doesn't matter, but I feel as though someone lined up my children and set them on fire and I watched," she said.

"We're just in pieces. Why would anyone do that? I don't know how someone could consciously set alight a barn full of horses. We are just reeling from it. My heart is in a million pieces," Joyce added.

The animals that perished in the fire include Warwick, a show winning horse which bagged three prizes last year and was worth more than $20,000. The farm had over 20 horses and Joyce managed to rescue the remaining ones.

A campaign has now been launched to help raise funds to replace the destroyed barn. According to Joyce, she feels "unbelievably cushioned and helped" because of the amount of people who showed up at the farm to help clear the ash and hose dirt. She also shared that even some people she don't personally know are sending large amounts of money to help rebuild the barn.

Representative image Alessandro Squassoni/Pixabay