A fast-moving barn fire in Chester County killed six Olympic-caliber show horses and injured five others Tuesday.

The blaze erupted at 12:30 a.m. at True Prospect Farm on Hood Road in West Marlborough Township, officials said. Three employees who lived in an attached apartment smelled smoke and were able to evacuate five of the 11 horses in the barn, said Evie Dutton, who owns the farm with her husband, Phillip Dutton.

Evie Dutton said the barn was leased to Boyd Martin, an internationally known trainer for equestrian triathlon events that combine dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. She said that the horses were "on the short list" for potential Olympic competition.

The employees were treated at Jennersville Regional Hospital and are expected to be fine, Dutton said.

She said that the loss of the horses has generated an outpouring of condolences from neighbors and the equestrian community. "We appreciate the love and support we've been shown; it makes this difficult time more bearable," she said.

Dutton said she visited the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, where the five rescued horses were being treated.

Officials said the fire's cause was under investigation.