Updated 09/06/2017

Two horses are the only survivors of a barn fire that killed 23 Tennessee Walking Horses in the early morning hours Tuesday in Limestone County.

A passerby noticed the blaze about 2:30 a.m. and called 911, according to media reports.

Firefighters from Oak Grove-Thach Volunteer Fire Department rushed to the scene.

“When I got there, it (the barn) was fully involved,” said Fire Chief Cody Wood.

The conflagration spread rapidly through the barn and was so hot they could not get in to get horses out, said Wood.

About 10 to 12 Oak Grove firefighters battled the blaze along with firefighters from Elkmont and Ardmore volunteer fire departments. They were on the scene for a little more than three hours, Wood said.

The horses, some of them award-winners, were worth anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 each.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. An investigator from the Alabama Fire Marshal's Office was expected to visit the site Tuesday evening to try to make a determination.