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Teen girl saves 25 horses from stable fire

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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Wallraf described how she crawled through the aisle to rescue the frantic horses as flames flanked her and smoke filled the space to about three feet off the floor.

"I got kicked in the shoulder by one of the horses in there and I got knocked down a few times, but my adrenaline was so high at the time that it didn't phase me," said the 4-foot, 10-inch teen, who estimates she saved 25 horses.

Wallraf and Shannon Weitzman, 21, who also went into the burning barn to save horses, were treated for smoke inhalation.

Ultimately, at least 16 horses died. Three more escaped. It's hoped the horses will return.

"We know they're out in the woods, we just don't know where," said McHenry Township Fire District Chief Tony Huemann.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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