Nearly a dozen horses are safe after a fire tore through a barn in southern Manitoba around 8 a.m. on Sunday.

It happened at Aesgard Ranch near Highway 8 in the RM of St. Andrews, Manitoba. 

Clandeboye fire department chief Ray Kelsch says the barn was destroyed but the horses were saved and are now being held in the area. 

Kelsch's team was brought in to help the Matlock Fire Department, which was already working to put out the flames.

"The building was down pretty much before they even got there," he said. 

"They had to bust some fences to let the horses out but none of them got hurt. Tough fighting fires in that cold weather, stuff freezes up on you."

Kelsch said part of the challenge of fighting fires in the cold is a lack of hydrants available for use, and the need to haul water in trucks as a result.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the office of the fire commissioner.