The fire at Black Tie Stable in M & R Overlook Farm started around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Twenty one departments responded to the scene with water because there are no hydrants in the area.
"The poor animals," Ralph Lindblom, owner M & R Overlook Farm. "I feel so sorry for them. We tried to get them out, but the smoke was so bad and I couldn't get in there. I got two out, and that's all I was able to do."
Thirty one horses were rescued, but fire officials say two horses are still missing. They are using a helicopter to try to locate them in the woods south of the barn.
"We are hopeful that they are out in the woods and safe," said Tony Huemann, McHenry County fire chief. "We just haven't been able to find them yet."
Volunteers helped search Thursday for the missing horses in a dense area nearby.
"If the horses get into that bog they can't get out," Brent Deppmeier. "It is like standing in quicksand."
"They're not running and thinking clearly," said Tracy McGonigle. "They may put themselves in harm's way as they're running out and they could be injured."
Animal Control says many of the horses were freed by people driving by who saw the flames.
"Those horses were more than something they rode on the weekends," said Pat Ross, horse owner. "They were really their pets and horses they really cared for. This is an old barn, it's been here a long time and the people that stopped were absolutely wonderful."
About 30 horses were inside the barn, which also featured an arena in the middle. The 20,000 square foot building is a total loss, according to fire officials. They do not suspect arson in the case.
If anyone in the neighborhood spots the missing horses, they should call McHenry County Animal Control first.