November 10, 2023 3 min read


Fire at Tioga Downs Casino Kills Dozens of Horses, Arsonist Arrested

Boyd Fenton from Pennsylvania is believed to be behind the fire

A fire at the Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, New York, has resulted in the death of more than two dozen racehorses. A man who attempted to rescue the animals has been rushed to the Robert Packer Hospital with second-degree burns.

The fire engulfed the resort’s barn on the morning of November 9. The police were immediately called to the scene where they found the dead animals.

The New York State Police believe that the fire was no accident. Law enforcers believe that the fire may have been intentionally set by Boyd Fenton, 32. The police arrested the Pennsylvanian man and charged him with four felonies, namely:

  • Arson in the third degree, class “C” felony
  • Burglary in the third degree, class “D” felony
  • Criminal Mischief in the second, class “D” felony
  • Assault in the second degree, class “D” felony

Upon further investigation, the police said that Fenton likely entered the barn and intentionally set a fire. He was arraigned before a judge on November 9 and remanded to the Tioga Country Correctional Facility.

Affected People Seek Justice

The investigation continues as the police seek to better understand the situation. In the meantime, the New York State Police extended its condolences to the people who lost their animals in the accident.

The New York State Police would like to offer condolences to affected individuals and families that lost their beloved animals during this tragic incident.

New York State Police statement

The motive for the arson was not announced or is not known at the time.

In the wake of the fire, a crowdfunding campaign was launched to help the horsemen who lost their animals. Organized by Alexandra Skowyra, the campaign asked people to show solidarity with the people affected by the barn fire.

This place [Tioga Downs] is home to many of us. Every little bit counts. Let’s show them as a Horseman community. What we can do to help in this time of need.

Alexandra Skowyra

The campaign surpassed its $50,000 goal and has raised $72,158 as of the time of this writing.

In the meantime, Elizabeth Allers started a campaign, seeking to charge Fenton with animal cruelty. Allers noted that Fenton’s current charges carry a very short sentence, which, according to her, is unacceptable.

We must stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We call on our local law enforcement and judicial system in Tioga County to uphold the law and charge this individual with animal cruelty for each horse that lost its life as per New York State legislation.

Elizabeth Allers

The petition has 172 signatures as of the time of this writing.


Angel has a passion for all forms of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. His curious nature gives him an ace up his sleeve when researching a new topic. Angel’s thirst for knowledge, paired with adaptability, always helps him find his way around.

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