By 4 a.m. Tuesday, Virginia Padilla's ranch was in the direct path of the fast-moving Creek Fire in Southern California. Padilla and her family in Tujunga awakened to thick smoke and bright orange flames. Fire officials alerted them to evacuate.

The family packed up some belongings and rushed away from the flames, leaving over 60 horses locked inside stables at the ranch behind. Los Angeles Animal Control workers sprung into action, managing to successfully lead 15 of the animals to safety.

But when Padilla returned to Rancho Padilla after the danger passed, she found a devastating sight — the charred carcasses of dozens of horses, trapped in their stalls.

"It's awful. There's no words to explain it," Padilla told CBS Los Angeles.

Padilla did not confirm the condition of the other 45-plus horses that were being boarded at the ranch to CBS Los Angeles. But her younger sister, Patricia, told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday there were at least 29 dead.

"All I could think about was the horses, the horses, the horses. And they were like, 'Get out, get out, get out,'" Patricia told the newspaper. "The structures can get rebuilt, but the lives of the horses can't. ... That's my biggest heartbreak."

Many of the horses that survived suffered serious burns, like Padilla's 7-year-old Ruben. The horse was burned over 65 percent of his body, but he is expected to recover.