Months after a fire destroyed an animal sanctuary in Niagara County and killed dozens of animals, the Lakeview Animal Sanctuary is starting to rebuild. YNN's Antoinette DelBel went back to the site where construction is now underway on a new barn.
PENDLETON, N.Y. — The rebuilding process is now underway at the Lakeview Animal Sanctuary in Pendleton after a fire ravaged the barn back on Sept. 11.
"Everything was just destroyed,” said Pete Marko, the farm manager. “Everything near it was destroyed - lawn mowers, riding mowers, all that kind of stuff. There was almost nothing left, except massive amounts of debris."
More than 80 animals - dozens of goats, sheep, and a llama - died in the fire that Marko said started when a wire shorted and ignited the hay.
Now, months later with the site cleaned up, it's time to rebuild.
"Everything is going to be safe for fires, all by code, encased wires, which a lot of it wasn't encased before," said Marko.
A four-man crew from Parco Building Systems started construction on a new barn Friday, and is doing the work at a reduced cost.
"It's kind of sad what happened, and I'm glad to be a part of it," said David Hedley, a contractor for Parco Building Systems.
The Lakeview Animal Sanctuary will hold the hundreds of animals that have been staying in makeshift shelters on-site or with friends and neighbors.
"People were nice enough to lend us our barn for hay, barns for our horses and donkeys. We got animals all over," said Marko.
Marko said the new barn will be bigger and better with more stalls so Molly, a horse who survived the fire, can be reunited with dozens of other horses.
"It'll be twice the size, which means we'll be able to get enough animals in here now because the other barn was actually too small,” said Marko. “There's a lot of animals out there that need saving and places to go."
"It's got a hay mound going down the center of it,” said Hedley. “There's going to be stalls on each side, approximately 10 of them."
The barn is expected to be finished by early spring.