California fire
A house is threatened by wildfire along Linda Flora Drive during the "Skirball" Fire in Los Angeles, California, Dec. 6, 2017. Getty Images

Almost 30 horses died amid the charred landscape of Little Tujunga Canyon Road in Sylmar on Wednesday after being trapped in a barn that caught fire from embers caused by the fast-moving Creek Fire at Rancho Padilla in Sylmar in Southern California.

Two workers, who spoke with ABC7 News, said the strong smell of smoke woke them up around 4 a.m. EST on Tuesday and they ran to the barns only to find the roofs on fire.

The ranch staff said they wanted to open the barn doors to help the horses escape but could not do so as the fire had become too intense. Nearly 30 horses were torched to death, however, about six were rescued.

The Padilla family visited the barn Wednesday morning to survey the smoldering ranch that their father built over two decades ago. The family lives up the hill from the ranch and were informed about the mishap by fire officials.

“All I could think about was the horses, the horses, the horses. And they were like, ‘Get out, get out, get out,’” said Patricia Padilla whose family owns the ranch. “The structures can be rebuilt, but the lives of the horses can’t. ... That’s my biggest heartbreak.”

The ranch, which was torched, used to board horses and had more than 60 horses housed there, said Virginia Padilla, Patricia’s older sister and they put the number of dead horses at 29, according to Los Angeles Times.

One of the horses named Chaparra, who was rescued, suffered the most severe burn injuries from the fire and is currently being treated at Pierce College around the clock.

Chaparra reportedly suffered injuries to her eyes, lost most of her hair from the severe burns, and was severely traumatized by the incident. Two of the other rescued horses suffered internal injuries.

Veterinary staff at the Pierce College said they are trying to get Chappara to eat something, however, it has been very difficult to do so as her mouth is so swollen due to the injuries, ABC7 News reported.

The Padilla family has had the ranch for 26 years now and said that they have seen the mountains around them catch fire earlier.

“We’ve always had fires, and it’s always been one of those things like, ‘We’ll be OK,’” Virginia said.

“I guess it was just,” she trailed off while struggling to find the correct words to express her grief. “We weren’t,” she added.

“Honestly, it feels like we lost a big part of our family,” she said. “To see it all gone ... it’s heartbreaking,” Virginia’s sister Patricia said.

The Los Angeles County Animal Control service informed people that if they want to help, they may contact the website at Through their website, they can support rescue and recovery efforts for the animals such as the horse Chaparra.

The Creek Fire in Southern California was reported to be a 1,000-acre brush fire at 3:42 a.m. EST on Tuesday near Gold Creek and Little Tujunga by the Angeles National Forest. The fire reached 11,000 acres by early afternoon, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.