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Officers rescue horse from burning barn

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HILLTOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — A dramatic body camera video shows two police officers and a farm worker rushing in to save a horse in a burning barn in Bucks County. In exclusive interviews, the two Hilltown Township police officers told Eyewitness News they had no experience handling horses, but that in the moment, their adrenaline was pumping.

“Is everyone out?” asks Officer Matthew Reiss as he runs up to the barn in the video.

Someone yells out to him, “There’s a horse in the house!”

Credit: CBS3

The footage from Reiss’ body camera shows he didn’t think twice before running into the barn, which was on fire, to help a horse in distress.

The heart-stopping rescue happened last Thursday at 10:38 a.m. at Red Wing Farm on Hilltown Pike in Hilltown Township.

Friends and workers got all of the other horses in the barn to safety, but horse Phoebe was spooked by the flames.

Officer Kristian Hanus quickly jumped in to help his fellow officer.

“The adrenaline was pumping,” Hanus said.

“She was definitely terrified, the cops were fantastic though, they jumped right in,” said Lena Obernesser, a riding instructor at Red Wing Farm. “I saw the footage and I was just in awe. Like, oh my God, thank God they were here.”

The footage also shows Obernesser’s heroics. She removed her shirt to cover Phoebe’s eyes and pushed her from behind while the officers used a rope to pull her out. Phoebe then ran out of the barn to everyone’s relief.

“It was an absolute moment of excitement and adrenaline dump that we were successful,” Reiss said. “Minimal injuries to both he and I, and we were out there, so good work!”

“Definitely going to go down in the books as one of the most memorable,” Hanus said.

Phoebe is doing great a week after her harrowing ordeal.

Meanwhile, Red Wing Farm is still calculating the extensive damages, but their community is rallying around them, providing donations and shelter for their horses.

“We had trainers contacting us, people telling us like, hey, if you need places,” Obernesser said. “The horses are at Ivy Hill right now and Park Avenue stables. They really stepped up, we had so many people reaching out. I was so proud to be a part of this community.”

The Bucks County Fire Marshal’s Office and Hilltown Police are still investigating the cause of the fire.

The farm’s owner said family friend Eric Hayes got most of the other horses out. He is recovering from second- and third-degree burns.

Friends have started two GoFundMe campaigns to help the farm rebuild. Click here and here to see more.

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