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Barn fire kills more than a dozen animals, owner tries to keep survivors warm

FENNIMORE (WKOW) — A Grant County woman watched her barn burn to the ground this weekend. Sadly, she lost many of her beloved animals that were inside.

“Awful, I don’t like looking at it,” said Kathy Leffler, looking at the debris where her barn used to be. “It hurts.”

Leffler has lived and farmed on her property in Fennimore for 20 years and says animals are her passion.

“When I was little I loved animals and my parents wouldn’t let me have any and I laughed and said, okay, I’ve got them now,” she said.

Saturday night, her barn caught fire, she says firefighters still aren’t sure what caused it.

“We just sat and looked at everything because we couldn’t do a thing,” she said.

Leffler says the barn went up in flames quickly. It killed about half of the 30 animals inside.

“All my cats perished up there, they didn’t come out,” she said.

At least that’s what she thought, but while walking up to where the farm she spotted a cat, a bright spot in a dark week.

“She’s burnt pretty bad, I feel bad, but I’ll take good care of it,” Leffler said while holding the cat.

The cat will live inside her home, she also has two goats staying warm in her garage. However, many of the larger animals have no other option than staying outside.

“I can’t put my babies back in, it’s so cold,” she said.

Leffler is trying to make them as comfortable as possible, like putting up walls they can hide behind when the wind picks up and giving them extra straw bedding.

“It’s nice and thick and fluffy for them,” she said. “So I can make it better.”

Neighbors are helping her clean up and after her daughter posted about it on social media, strangers are even reaching out.

“People are so great, I’m not kidding, they don’t know me,” she said.

Leffler does plan on rebuilding her barn.

Her daughter set up a GoFundMe page to help with the expenses.

Amanda Hari

Reporter, WKOW

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