BY MIA SANSONE
PROSPECT — Kelly Cronin is looking to rebuild Kelly’s Kids after a 60 animals died in Feb. 3 barn fire.
The night of the fire, Cronin was woken by one of her family members — and with all the confusion she cannot remember who was yelling “the barn’s on fire!”
Cronin’s oldest son, Tim, kicked in the barn door, but by the time they got through, all of the animals had already died. They lost alpacas, turkeys, sheep, goats, mini-donkeys, mini-horses, ducks, and rabbits.
But the other barn on the property was not touched by fire and about 15 animals are still on the Spring Road farm — pigs, ducks, chickens, rabbits, and horses.
Tony Muniz, Prospect’s fire marshal, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
“There’s just so much damage that was there, it’s pretty difficult to figure that out,” Muniz said.
Muniz said the cause of the fire will most likely be listed as undetermined.
Cronin plans to buy new animals at the Middlesex livestock auction, which is held every Monday in Middlefield. Cronin said she was unable to go on Feb. 13 but she did reach out to the co-owner who said she would help Cronin get animals to rebuild.
“Most of the animals people take at the auction go for meat,” Cronin said. “But I always go down and buy pets.”
Cronin said people have reached out to see who want to donate animals or sell them at a discount. Cronin says she needs about 10 to 15 animals to start, especially goats and baby sheep.
Kelly’s Kids is a place where kids who have disabilities or are referred by the Department of Children and Families have a purpose; they feed animals, plant vegetables, go fishing, and much more.
Cronin said Lowe’s, Home Depot, lumber companies and construction companies, have reached out saying they would help rebuild the barn. Last week, workers from Home Depot came to the farm to take measurements. Cronin said she wants a shed with a pasture around it to start, and then will continue rebuilding from there.
It will take a couple months to rebuild, depending on weather conditions. Cronin said they want to take their time to make sure the barn is rebuilt properly rather than quickly. There will be a barn raising, a day in which members in the community will construct the framework of the barn.
Cronin is eager to start business up again. She is especially excited about the 12-week summer program she has planned for both adults and children.
Members in the community have been reaching out to Cronin, sending messages of hope and donating funds. The GoFundMe started on Feb. 4, has already reached over $120,000.
“The outpouring of support has been amazing, it’s overwhelming,” Cronin said.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Kelly’s Kids rebuild a barn and replace 60 animals. To donate, visit gofund.me/71a9c3ce