USEA Identifies Horse Killed in Hyperbaric Chamber Explosion

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has identified the horse killed in the explosion of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center (KESMARC) in Ocala, Fla., on Feb. 10 as Landmark's Legendary Affaire. The 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding was owned by Jacqueline Mars and ridden by Lauren Kieffer. Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the fire officials that responded to the incident said 30 other horses contained in the building where the chamber was located were not harmed in the incident.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves treating a patient with 100% oxygen under pressure; veterinarians have explained the process increases oxygen levels in blood plasma and promotes higher delivery to all body tissues, including injured areas, to facilitate healing. In horses HBOT is used to treat a range of conditions and acute injuries, including deep wounds, joint injuries, and infections. Horses treated with HBOT are placed in chambers that are approximately 10 to 12 feet in diameter.

Marion County, Fla., Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Jennifer Greene said that around 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 10, Marion County Fire Rescue personnel responded to an emergency call about an explosion at the KESMARC Florida facility. Upon arrival, fire rescue personnel discovered that a hyperbaric oxygen chamber located in the southwest corner of a structure on the KESMARC Florida property had exploded.

The horse in the hyperbaric chamber at the time of the explosion was killed, along with KESMARC Florida employee Erica Marshall, Greene said. Another woman, Sorcha Moneley, was injured in the incident and transported to a hospital for treatment. Greene was unable to comment on Moneley's condition.

No one from KESMARC Florida was available for comment on the incident.

All 30 horses stabled in another portion of the building were safely evacuated from the damaged structure, Greene said.

"The explosion blew out the entire southwest corner of the building, and there was 1,200 square feet of severe damage," Greene said. "As a result of the explosion, the entire structure was declared unsafe."

Greene declined further comment on the incident.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation. Results of the Florida State Fire Marshal's Office probe of the incident are expected within two or three weeks, Greene said.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.