ESSEX fire service have confirmed the devastating fire that killed 12 horses in Burnham was "most likely" started deliberately.

The Burnham community is in shock this week as 12 horses were killed in a fire at Elmwood Equestrian Centre on Maldon Road near Burnham on Sunday night.

An additional 50 horses have been left traumatised by the incident.

Essex Police and fire service have been conducting investigations over the last few days.

The police will continue their investigations now that they point to the incident being arson.

A spokesman said: "We're appealing for witnesses following a fire in Burnham.

"A number of horses died as a result of the fire, which started around 11pm on Sunday, December 3.

"We are treating it as suspicious."

Gazette:

Flowers, pictures and other tributes have been left at the stables since the fire. 

More than £15,000 has been raised for Elmwood from the online JustGiving fundraiser.

The fire service has released safety advice for horse owners following the incident.

Mark Earwicker, Head of Technical Fire Safety, said: “By their very nature, stables and livery yards are at risk of fires. Their location is often in secluded, rural areas which means a fire may be well underway before the alarm is raised.

"Also, the construction of the buildings often utilises combustible materials such as wooden boards and timber frames and the contents are highly flammable items such as hay, straw, feed and blankets.”

Gazette:

The Fire Safety Risk Assessment for Animal Premises and Stables guidance provides information regarding what needs to be done to comply with fire safety legislation.

Further safety measures that should be followed by stables, including single or private premises include:

  • Keeping all electrical appliances, machinery and their associated wiring in good repair and not overloading sockets.
  • Taking care to safely store highly flammable hay, bedding, feed and equipment (including fuels, oils and solvents), preferably away from equine accommodation.
  • Ban smoking or put strictly controlled smoking policies in place.
  • Be mindful that fire could start from an act of arson and/or when least expected and put measures in place which would offer protection in such circumstances.

Witnesses or anyone with info to contact DC Andrew Young at on 101