Watertown Man Tried To Put Out Fire That Killed 30 Horses


A north country man was driving a tractor trailer full of horses Monday night when the vehicle caught fire and killed 30 of the animals.

State police identified the driver as 56 year old Clarence Phelps of Watertown.

Police said Phelps was driving the truck on Interstate 81 in the town of Lisle, just south of the Cortland County line.

Phelps saw flames coming from the passenger side of the vehicle shortly before 8 p.m., police said.

According to police, he pulled onto the shoulder of the northbound lanes and attempted to extinguish the fire, but was unsuccessful.

When police arrived on the scene, they found the vehicle engulfed in flames.

The Marathon Fire Department responded and put out the fire.

Thirty horses, being transported from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, to a rendering plant in Massueville, Quebec, died in the fire.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the fire started after a passenger side fuel tank malfunctioned.

The state Department of Transportation and Broome County Sheriff's Office also assisted the state police at the scene.

Monday, December 5, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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