Seven sheep, including five lambs, are dead and another is badly injured after a fire Thursday evening on Rivers Road in Rotterdam Junction destroyed three buildings, according to the building owners.
Louise Dickinson, who owns the buildings with her husband Jeff Kline, said Friday one of the sheep, Ernie, was badly burned and the couple is waiting to see what the veterinarian has to say. She also said Laverne and Shirley, the other two sheep, had just recently given birth.
Police received a call about the fire just before 10 p.m. Thursday, said Rotterdam Lt. Bill Male. He said the fire is being ruled an accident. He said it is believed that a heat lamp placed in the barn housing the sheep, to keep the animals warm during the last couple of cold days, contributed to the fire. He also said there was gasoline and kerosene being stored that likely accelerated the fire.
“We lost all of our outbuildings–the barn, cidery and sheep shed,” Dickinson said.
Dickinson said she was home in bed, while her husband was in another room of the house facing away from the three buildings when the fire broke out.
“We didn’t see it in time to get the animals out,” she said.
She said they also have chickens, maybe 20 to 30 of them, which scattered during the fire. Dickinson said a friend was up at the house and said at least a dozen of the chickens had huddled together.
“I kind of expect a good portion to come back,” she said.
Dickinson said she’s thankful there was no wind last night pushing the fire toward the house and that nobody was hurt but is saddened by the loss of the animals. She said the community has come together to help them.
“We’ve had an outpouring of support from the community,” she said, noting people have donated some feed and cages.
The total cost of damage is unknown, according to Male.