UPDATE: 41 animals killed in barn fire at southern Indiana wildlife refuge
At least three fire departments are on the scene of a barn fire at Wildlife in Need, a southern Indiana wildlife refuge near Charlestown, according to Charlestown Police.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- At least three fire departments were on the scene of a barn fire that killed 41 animals at Wildlife in Need, a southern Indiana wildlife refuge near Charlestown Tuesday.
Charlestown Assistant Fire Chief Andre Heal had said all animals were safe and accounted for, but the organization later said some were killed in the fire.
Officials say the fire happened in a barn that contained feed and part of a shelter for animals.
The fire was reported just before noon and the first firefighters arrived at noon. Three fire departments responded to the scene. Firefighters are likely to remain at the scene through the evening, according to Heal.
The area is not within in the Charlestown city limits, but is located in Clark County.
A message was posted on the Wildlife in Need Facebook page:
"We would like to make an official statement regarding the devastating fire on our property this afternoon. We are heartbroken to report that we did suffer losses here at WIN today. The media is inaccurately and hastily reporting that all are uninjured. We wish this was the case. Our bird and reptile area was included in the property that was lost today and unfortunately forty-one of our Ambassadors lives' were lost. Some were scaly, some were feathered, others furry, but all were friends. We have bonded with all of our animals here at WIN and the hearts of our volunteers and staff are heavy tonight. We are grateful to our owner, Tim, and to our park manager, Daniel, who bravely went into the fire to rescue animals and are fortunate to have had multiple lives saved due to their quick efforts. They also ensured the property remained secure at all times.
We are asking for your prayers and will let you know how else you can help just as soon as we can gather our thoughts.
Thank you all for your concern.
For our patrons that are coming to our fundraiser tonight and tomorrow, if able and willing to help, please purchase whole packaged turkeys and chickens to bring with you. We are in immediate need as our freezer area was destroyed.
We are limited on storage space due to the fire so at this point that is all we know to ask for.
Thank you all."
Wildlife In Need is located at 3320 Jack Teeple Road, near Charlestown, Indiana. Its Web site describes it as, "a nonprofit 501c3 organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of native species, as well as the provision of safe harbor to an array of Ambassadors from exotic and endangered species."
The refuge has come under fire from some animal rights groups in recent years because of its practice of keeping some exotic animals in captivity.
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