INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) - Over 40 birds were killed when a fire broke out at the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in Indian Trail Sunday night.
According to their Facebook page, the fire started in the electrical outlet of a bird room that was connected to a barn on the facility. A spokesperson with the nonprofit said 40 birds were killed in the fire. Volunteers noticed smoke coming from a building adjacent to the barn around 6:30 p.m., according to the spokesperson.
"I notice what look like steam coming off the top of the barn," said Troy Tomlisnson, a volunteer. "We opened every door we could get to and just started pushing birds out the door."
Union County Fire Marshal Kevin Rigoli said the fire was caused by an electrical issue with chords leading to the heat lamps.
The nonprofit said 50 other birds were affected in the incident and were "fighting for their lives." The birds were being treated for burns and smoke inhalation.
"It is tough because we lost a few animals that we consider family," said Tomlinson
The rescue said their building is completely unstable.
The staff said that they were able to save some of the animals' lives thanks to the help of volunteers.
The rescue is asking for donations so that they can try to cover the cost of some medical expenses and building repairs. Staff members posted saying their were specifically looking for oxygen concentrators.
"365 days a year, rain, sleet, snow, sunshine, we are here for these birds," said Joyce Gehring, a volunteer. "We are all invested in these animals and they are part of our family because we see them day in and day out."
The fire caused nearly $10,000 to $15,000 in damages.
"It is times like this that people come together and pull through and that is what we will continue to do," said Gehring.
"If we have the money we can use it to buy the things we need right then and there," said Tomlinson.