60 animals killed in fire on Connecticut farm
Dozens of animals were killed in a fire that tore through a Connecticut barn late Saturday night, wiping out nearly all the livestock.
Firefighters were called to the Prospect farm, which doubles as a non-profit serving kids in need, around 11:25 p.m., the local Fox affiliate station reported.
The smoke-eaters battled the blaze but were unable to reach any of the roughly 60 animals trapped inside due to the intense heat and flames, the Prospect fire chief told the outlet.
Farm owner Kelly Cronin told Fox that she lost mini horses, donkeys, alpacas, ducks, geese and pigs in the fire. She added that numerous newborn pigs were among those killed.
The majority of her animals were inside the barn due to the frigid temperatures Saturday.
“By the time we even walked out, it was like the flames were up in the sky. You couldn’t save anything,” she said, tearing up.
The animals were not just farm livestock, but were used in animal therapy for children and seniors as part of Cronin’s nonprofit organization Kelly’s Kids. Cronin has run the program out of the farm since 2014.
Cronin also runs after-school and summer programs that use “farm animals as the tool to teach [children] socialization, respect, responsibility, safety and achievement skills.”
The nonprofit organization offers such programming to at-risk and underprivileged children including those placed in safe homes.
A woman who went through the program as a child has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for the farm to rebuild.
“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 any one in need especially kids and other vulnerable populations.”
She said she personally benefited from the healing that animal therapy provided.
“My earliest memories of the beginning of my relationship with Kelly is her and her family picking me and all the other safe home kids up early Sunday morning, piling us in to her suburban, taking us to church followed by Dunkin’ Donuts and finally the farm to spend time with the animals,” Kiefer shared.
“I was not the only one who needed those Sundays. Dozens of us made it through the week knowing Sundays at the farm were coming.”
She added that Cronin lost her life’s work in the fire. Cronin said she lived on the property her whole life and her family has owned the land for multiple generations.
“While no amount of money can undo the devastation or what no person should have to see, it will help give more kids and families the opportunity to have a place to feel unconditional care, support, family, and love,” Kiefer wrote.
The GoFundMe had raised nearly $80,000 by Sunday night.
The fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. No people were injured in the blaze.