Connecticut farm fire kills 60 animals
Dozens of animals were killed in a fire that tore through a Connecticut barn late Saturday night, wiping out nearly all of the livestock.
Firefighters were called to the Prospect Farm, which also serves as a nonprofit serving children in need, at around 11:25 p.m., the local Fox affiliate station reported.
Smoke eaters fought the blaze but were unable to reach any of the approximately 60 animals trapped inside due to the intense heat and flames, the Prospect fire chief told the outlet.
Farm owner Kelly Cronin told Fox she lost mini-horses, donkeys, alpacas, ducks, geese and pigs in the blaze. She added that many newborn pigs were among those killed.
The majority of his animals were inside the barn due to freezing temperatures on Saturday.
“The moment we came out, it was as if the flames were in the sky. You couldn’t save anything,” she said, crying.
The animals were not just farm livestock, but were used in pet therapy for children and the elderly as part of Cronin’s non-profit organization, Kelly’s Kids. Cronin has run the off-farm program since 2014.
Cronin also runs after-school and summer programs that use “farm animals as a tool to teach [children] socialization, respect, responsibility, security and success.
The non-profit organization offers such programs to at-risk and disadvantaged children, including those placed in safe homes.
A woman who went through the program as a child started a GoFundMe page to raise money for rebuilding the farm.
“I have no words for the devastation that took place last night,” Ashley Kiefer wrote on the page. “Kelly and her family for decades have given selflessly to anyone in need, especially children and other vulnerable populations.”
She said she has personally benefited from the healing brought about by pet therapy.
“My earliest memories of my early relationship with Kelly are her and her family picking me up and all the other kids from the safe home early on Sunday mornings, piling us up in her suburb, taking us to church, followed by Dunkin’ Donuts and finally the farm to spend time with the animals,” Kiefer explained.
“I wasn’t the only one who needed those Sundays. Dozens of us went through the week knowing that Sundays at the farm were approaching.
She added that Cronin had lost his life’s work in the fire. Cronin said she had lived on the property all her life and her family had owned the land for several generations.
“While no amount of money can fix the devastation or what no one should have to see, it will help give more children and families the opportunity to have a place to feel care, support , unconditional love and family,” Kiefer wrote.
The GoFundMe had raised nearly $80,000 by Sunday night.
The Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire. No one was injured in the fire.
New York Post