Wildfire beats the odds, rescuers help foal in burn recovery

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) -- She's been through the fire and is now racing towards a brighter future.

Wildfire is a three-month-old foal recovering from severe burns after getting caught in a barn fire.

She's captured the hearts of many in Marion County. Wildfire here, she was rescued after suffering burns from a barn fire and now she's recovering at the Equine Performance Center before heading to a new home.

Diane Marchand is an avid advocate for horses in Marion County.

"She suffered for two weeks without any help,” she said.

When she heard about baby wildfire, she knew she had to do something.

"I drove by and the owners were out there chasing this horse, with some dogs trying to catch it. Then I saw all of the burns on her body,” Marchand said.

The former owners, on the other hand, said they were doing all they could after losing everything in the barn fire.

"We put salve on her twice a day for two weeks and she was eating and she was drinking and all of that. She was going to be okay. We had a stud and a mare that was killed in the fire and we had two stud dogs killed in the fire. I mean we lost everything we had,” said former owner Barbara Hooker.

In the end, the former owners agreed to sell the foal to Marchand.

"It was going to be a long haul and we knew it and we were willing to do it and then that lady came by and wanted to buy her. he wasn't a piece of nothing to us. She was a filly that needed help and we were helping her as much as we could,” Hooker added.

Now, Wildfire is recovering at the Equine Performance Center in Marion County, receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, laser treatments and of course…lots of love.

"I decided to take her because I felt like for one she is a fighter and she has a purpose because she lived,” said new owner Erika Berg.

And after just 13 days, veterinarians at the Equine Performance Center said she's making a great recovery.

“For the first time today we were able to see some small follicles coming in on some of these patches like right here I can see little follicles,” said Senior Veterinarian at Equine Performance Center Alberto Rullan.

Agricultural Deputies with the Levy County Sheriff's Office are investigating the farm where wildfire came from.

Marchand said she hopes the Sheriff's Office takes action against the farm.

"She's grateful she was saved,” Marchand said.

The non-profit Saving Paws and Hooves is helping Wildfire in affording her treatments. Dr. Rullan is donating the hyperbaric treatments to the foal.