Dramatic video shows Hilltown Township officers saving horse trapped in fire

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Friday, July 31, 2020
Police bodycam video shows dramatic horse rescue during fire in Hilltown Township
CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Video shows the moment two officers with the Hilltown Township Police Department rushed to save a 22-year-old horse named Phoebe during a fire last week.

HILLTOWN TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Newly released bodycam video shows the dramatic horse rescue during a fire in Bucks County, Pennsylvania last week.

It happened on July 23 around 10:38 a.m. on the 1500 block of Hilltown Pike.

Video shows the moment Officer Matthew Reiss and Officer Kristian Hanus with the Hilltown Township Police Department rush to the barn to save a 22-year-old horse named Phoebe.

The Red Wing Farm stable was holding 15 horses when the fire broke out. The staff got all horses out except for one.

When Reiss went in, it was bad. The second floor was already engulfed.

Officers say Phoebe was terrified, cowering in the stall corner.

"The animal weighs almost over 1000 pounds. It's not gonna move if it doesn't want to. So we tried to use a rope and get it out of the stall," said Reiss.

Hanus said, "I was pulling with all my might, that horse did not want to go towards that fire."

That's when trainer, Lena Obernesser was able to help.

While the officers are pulling, Obernesser had to push with everything she had.

"I don't think I've ever been that strong in my life," she said.

It was a happy ending, but it could have been deadly for all involved.

"The live power lines actually burned off the building and were laying on the ground just outside of where we were," said Reiss.

Hanus said, "We went in, we wanted to try and help them out. So much was going wrong for them that day."

But it's still extremely tragic for Amber Jewell who owns the farm with her family and runs her horse training facility here. The stable is gone.

On top of everything, Jewell was in the hospital, she had just given birth to her second child.

"I was getting texts and phone calls and things about what was going on," said Jewell.

Six of the horses are staying at the Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center. They're taking donations to board the horses indefinitely.

"We're boarding them free of charge. We're just thrilled the whole horse community has come together," said Laura Brockett-Strausser of Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

"The fact people stepped up like that and got the horses out, it's incredible," added Jewell.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Jewell says she will rebuild the stable.