A fast-moving barn fire in Chester County claimed the lives of six horses this morning.

The blaze erupted at 12:30 a.m. at True Prospect Farm on Hood Road in West Marlborough Township, officials said. Three occupants of an apartment in the barn were able to evacuate five of the 11 horses in the barn; five are being treated at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for injuries sustained in the fire, officials said.

Evie Dutton, who owns the farm with her husband, Phillip Dutton, said the barn was leased to Boyd Martin, an internationally-known trainer of three-day eventing, an equestrian triathlon that combines dressage, cross-country and show jumping. She said the horses were "on the short list" for potential Olympic competition.

She said that the loss of the horses - Call Me Ollie, Charla, Ariel, Phantom Pursuit, Cagney Herself, and Summer Breeze - has generated an outpouring of condolences from neighbors as well as the larger equestrian community.

"We appreciate the love and support we've been shown," she said. "It makes this difficult time more bearable."

Dutton said she visited New Bolton Center today and was impressed with the care and concern of the staff. She said four horses were taken to the hospital right away, and the fifth had to be transported later in the day.

Officials said the cause is under investigation.

Contact staff writer Kathleen Brady Shea at 610-696-3815, kbrady@phillynews.com, or @brandywinebits on Twitter. Read her blog, Chester County Inbox, at www.philly.com/chescoinbox.