Vermilion Township firefighters received a call about a fully engulfed barn at about 3:30 a.m. Monday, but by the time they arrived it was much too late for the animals.
“Unfortunately for the animals, it had been burning for a while by the time somebody noticed,” Vermilion Township assistant fire Chief Bob Kurtz said. “It was fully involved when we showed up.”
According to Erie County Sheriff’s dispatch logs, firefighters pulled up at 3:57 a.m., and they had the flames snuffed within about seven minutes.
“Our guys did a fantastic job knocking it out,” Kurtz said.
In the end, the barn was completely destroyed, while four horses, three rabbits, two pigs and a sheep perished in the blaze.
The barn was about 24 by 30 feet, with wooden sides and a metal roof.
Betsy Thayer, who owned the animals, told firefighters there was straw bedding on the barn floor, and she had been using heat lamps to keep some of the animals warm.
Kurtz theorized one of the lamps somehow got kicked over and ignited the straw bedding.
He estimated the barn was worth about $20,000, although he’s still working to put a value on the livestock.