Family loses 8 horses, barn and supplies in early morning fire

CLEVELAND, Mo. - A family in Cleveland, Mo, is mourning the loss of eight prized shows horses that died in an early morning fire.

Peggy Knaus, still shaken from the experience, spoke with 41 Action News Friday and explained that her dad first saw the flames. It was 4:10 a.m. when he called her and the five different surrounding fire departments responded within minutes.

By the time the family got to the barn, made mostly of metal, Knaus said, "The roof was collapsed. I knew they were gone."

Eight show horses she was boarding all died in the fired including, Nemo, Baby Ruth, Blueberry, Destiny, Outcast, Skore, Banana and Annie.

"It's like losing a child. The two oldest ones, I was there when they were born," Knaus said.

She lost a truck, a tractor, and all of her supplies.

"The everyday tack and riding equipment that you use, saddles, bridles. That's 20 years of accumulation," Knaus said.

The horses were award winning animals with strong pedigrees, but more importantly, they were like family.

"The show horses like what we do, they are your partner. You go show with them and they have to want to do what you want at the level that we do it," she added.

Knaus' friends and family hugged and looked at the debris thankful for at least one thing.

The farm's prize stallion, Nike, who sired all of the horses who died expect for one was fine.

"He has a considerable following. He has almost 2,000 friends on Facebook. He's famous. He sired a lot of really nice horses," Knaus said.

She explained that he was going to be moved to the barn next week.

Knaus said she knows she's lucky to have the support from the horse community as she rebuilds. 

"We really appreciate all of their prayers," she said.

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