NYSP: Athens Man Charged with Arson, Burglary after Fire at Tioga Downs Kills Racehorses
UPDATE: NOON, 11/13/2023 -- Tioga Downs announced that a private burial was held for 30 racehorses killed in an alleged arson fire on Thursday, Nov. 9th. The horses were laid to rest in what was called a simple service by Tioga Downs officials and were buried together next to the barn where the fire happened.
Officials from the resort and casino said the racetrack is working on establishing a memorial, designed to honor the horses' lasting impact on the harness racing community.
Authorities have released the mug shot of the man accused of setting the fire that killed the horses, Boyd Fenton stands charged with 3rd degree Arson, 3rd degree Burglary, 2nd degree Criminal Mischief, and 2nd degree Assault.
Authorities previously said more charges are possible.
UPDATE: 7:55PM 11/09/2023 -- New York State Police announced the arrest of Boyd Fenton, 32 of Athens, Pennsylvania in connection with the barn fire at Tioga Downs.
Fenton is charged with 3rd degree Arson, 3rd degree Burglary, 2nd degree Criminal Mischief, and 2nd degree Assault.
According to state police, their investigation revealed Fenton went into the barn and intentionally set a fire. Over two dozen racehorses died, and the fire also caused thousands of dollars of damage. Fenton was arraigned and sent to the Tioga County jail in Owego.
State police say a person who had tried to save horses from the burning barn suffered second degree burns, and was taken to the hospital for treatment.
UPDATE 5:15 P.M. 11/09/2023 -- The following statement was issued by the Chairman of American Racing & Entertainment Jeff Gural.
"‘We are deeply saddened by today’s tragedy, it was a loss no one could have imagined or expected. It is an active investigation so we are not able to comment any further at this time. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for all of the first responders who rushed to our aid, we have a wonderful community and we are honored to be a part of it."
UPDATE: 1:45 P.M. 11/09/2023 -- According to New York State Police, the fire at Tioga Downs was an intentional act of arson. As a result, police confirmed that multiple racehorses died, but would not say how many.
Police say a suspect is in custody, and that the investigation is still ongoing. The suspect was not identified.
NICHOLS, N.Y. (WENY) -- At least one barn with horses inside caught fire at Tioga Downs Casino Resort during the morning of Thursday, Nov. 9th. According to officials from Tioga Downs, it is currently unknown how many horses were inside or if they managed to make it out.
Right now multiple fire crews are on the scene along with state and local police. According to the WENY reporter on the scene, at least one barn was on fire, with smoke visible from the I-86, but traffic was not impacted.
The fire broke out near the vendor entrance.
WENY News will continue to follow this story for the status of the horses and will update it if more information becomes available.