More than two dozen horses are alive thanks in part to the efforts of a courageous 15-year-old who sprang into action when she saw flames in the stables.

“I started off by just putting their halters on and pulling them out by twos, but then the fire started getting quicker so I just started wrapping their ropes around their necks and just tying them around my arms and pulling them out,” Madison Wallraf recalled.

The Wednesday evening fire at the M&R Overlook Farms in suburban McHenry, Ill., raged for about two hours. With no hydrants, water had to be trucked in to fight the blaze that consumed the 25,000 square-foot metal barn.

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It is never a bad time to check for fire hazards in your barn, and go over an emergency plan, in case you of fire. Keeping ropes and halters in many easy-to-locate places is a wise idea. You should never lock the barn doors, or stall doors. Having gates on the ends of runs can aid in horses getting away from the barns without having to go inside the structure. Several fire extinguishers at each end of the barn can save lives.

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