Dozens of animals died in a Connecticut barn fire late Saturday night, wiping out nearly all of the livestock.
Firefighters were called to Prospect Farm, which doubles as a nonprofit serving children in need, around 11:25 p.m. A local Fox affiliate station reported.
The Prospect fire chief told the outlet that firefighters battled the blaze but were unable to reach any of the roughly 60 animals trapped inside due to the intense heat and flames.
Kelly Cronin, the farm’s owner, told Fox that she lost miniature horses, donkeys, alpacas, ducks, geese and pigs in the fire. He added that several newborn pigs were also among the dead.
Most of his animals were inside the barn because of the cold temperatures on Saturday.
“When we came out, it was like the sky was on fire. You couldn’t save anything,” she said tearfully.
The animals weren’t just farm livestock, but were used in animal therapy for children and seniors as part of Cronin’s non-profit organization Kelly’s Kids. Cronin has run the program off the farm since 2014.
Cronin also runs after-school and summer programs that “use farm animals as a teaching tool. [children] Socialization, respect, responsibility, safety and achievement skills.
The nonprofit organization offers programming for at-risk and disadvantaged children, including children in shelters.
A woman who went through the program as a child has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to rebuild the farm.
Ashley Kiefer wrote on the page, “I have no words for the devastation that happened last night. “Kelly and her family have given selflessly to anyone in need for decades, especially children and other vulnerable populations. Is.”
She said she personally benefits from the healing that animal therapy provides.
“My earliest memories of the beginning of my relationship with Kelly are that she and her family would pick me up and all the other safe kids in the house early on a Sunday morning, pile us into her suburb, drive us to church, Then Dunkin’ Donuts and finally the farm to spend time with the animals,” Kiefer shared.
“I wasn’t the only one who needed those Sundays. Dozens of us worked through the week knowing Sundays were coming up at the farm.
Cronin lost her life’s work in the fire, she added. Cronin said she has lived on the property her entire life and her family has owned the land for generations.
“While no amount of money can end the devastation or what no one should see, it will help give more children and families the opportunity to feel unconditional care, support, family and love,” Kiefer wrote. ”
The GoFundMe had raised nearly $80,000 as of Sunday night.
The fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. No one was injured in the fire.
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