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Fire destroys animal sanctuary with ties to St. Augustine

10 animals died in the fire at an animal sanctuary in Greenville

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Less than a week before Christmas, a fire destroyed a no-kill animal sanctuary in Madison County that has a connection to Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue, a St. Augustine nonprofit.

According to the organization, 10 animals died in a fire at the Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue sanctuary in Greenville on Dec. 19. The fire broke out at 10:30 p.m. in the sanctuary home where the property managers were living.

Fran Charlson, Executive Director of Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue, said the fire was caused by a heating lamp that was warming rescued tortoises.

The property managers were able to save most of the dogs, cats, birds and tortoises that lived in the house with them before the fire completely consumed the home.

As of Tuesday, three cats were still hospitalized with burns and one is fighting for its life. Three cats are still missing.

The two full-time animal caretakers suffered minor injuries, but lost most of their personal belongings and are without a place to live. The property was insured, but the building was not.

“Right now, one of them is living in a shed and the other is living in a very small RV so we are looking to get an RV donated until we can rebuild. I’m sure the house is going to be condemned and then we will have to rebuild the house,” Charlson said.

The 45-acre farm in Greenville was home to about 150 injured, ill and un-adoptable domestic and farm animals.

A Facebook fundraising campaign has received more than $11,000 in the last two days.

Ayla’s Acres said it relies solely on the generosity of donations from supporters and volunteers and receives no government funding. The organization does get some support through a thrift store in downtown St. Augustine.

Ayla's Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue in Greenville was destroyed by a fire on Dec. 19.
Ayla's Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue in Greenville was destroyed by a fire on Dec. 19. (Ayla's Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue)

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