MANSFIELD -- Eight horses were lost in a massive barn fire that broke out around 4 a.m. at the Richland County Fairgrounds.

Mansfield Fire Capt. Mark Sieving said the blaze did not appear to fit the pattern of the rash of suspicious fires plaguing the city this summer.

The race horse barn sits on the southside of the track.

Sieving said the barn appears to be a total loss.

Fair manager Dean Wells said there are 40 horses on the grounds but said he was uncertain how many were inside the barn. At 7 a.m. he said he was unaware of the incident.

Board member Jack Spangler, reportedly on the scene, could not be reached for comment.

The Mansfield Fire Department remains at the site clearing the debris.