On a rescue mission, employees at San Pascual Stables in South Pasadena drove toward a firestorm, knowing huge flames were in the distance and successfully brought horses to safety.
Jose Ursula was behind the wheel of a horse trailer last Tuesday night at about 8 p.m. as horse trainers Rebecca Ring and Sarah Durrer joined him in an effort to save the animals from the inferno. The trio headed east on the 210 Freeway to the Sunland-Tujunga area as the Creek Fire raged, destroying everything in its path.
“Many of the barns in our area were completely full,” explained Izzy Ebner, also a trainer at San Pascual Stables, explaining that Ursula, Ring and Durrer looked for anyone who needed help with their horses.
Among the horses they saved were wandering near Gibson Ranch in Sunland-Tujunga. Through the efforts of social media, word quickly spread that San Pascual Stables had availability for horses.
Soon all 26 empty stalls were filled to capacity, before the horses were diverted to the more spacious Fairplex Fairgrounds in Pomona later in the week.
While many horses were spared and brought to safety, Ebner said about 120 horses have died since Monday in the Southern California fires. According to authorities, 29 died during the Creek Fire and those who were rescued sustained burns and were treated for dehydration, stress an smoke inhalation.
Reeling from the setback are hundreds of equestrians who lost prized horses and wonderful companions in the wildfires.
“It’s devastating, harrowing,” Ebner said of the loss. “But social media has been huge in saving many that probably wouldn’t have made it.”