Powhatan County Fire Department, Good Samaritans Nab PETA Awards for Saving Horses From Fire


For Immediate Release:
January 30, 2024

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Richmond, Virginia – A PETA Compassionate Fire Department Award is on its way to Powhatan County Fire and Rescue along with two Compassionate Action Awards to a pair of good Samaritans—Pete Reese and Caiden Barker—for saving the lives of six horses who were trapped inside a burning barn last week. Reese was driving along Dorset Road on his way to pick up his kids when he saw the fire, pulled over, and—when no one answered the door at the home—ran toward the flames to rescue the animals. Barker, who was also driving by, saw the commotion and immediately ran to help. Within six minutes, fire crews arrived and rescued a sixth horse before the roof of the barn collapsed. Three horses died in the blaze.

Compassionate Fire Department Award – Powhatan County. Credit: PETA

As Barker told PETA, he and Reese had to approach the horses carefully because they “didn’t trust us or know who we were” and, at first, didn’t want to come out of their stalls. Powhatan County Fire and Rescue Chief Phil Warner told PETA that one of the rescued horses, who sustained severe injuries, was expected to survive and that the fire department gives “the same level of service” whether an animal or a human is in distress.

“Thanks to the quick, heroic actions of Pete Reese, Caiden Barker, and the Powhatan County fire department, terrified horses who were certainly going to perish in the flames were saved,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA encourages everyone to follow their example by acting swiftly to help animals in danger, whether in a burning building, on the roadway, or anywhere else.”

In 2023, more than 468,000 animals were killed in barn fires. PETA points out that barns have many fire hazards—such as dry materials and shoddy wiring—and urges property owners to create a fire-safety plan that includes fire escapes for animals, sprinkler systems, and fire detectors.

Reese, Barker, and the fire department will each receive a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan chocolates from PETA.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.


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