MONTICELLO, Minn. (WCCO) — A community is rallying to help a family whose horse barn caught fire, killing dozens of animals inside.
It happened early Sunday morning at Bit of Heaven, a boarding stable of Highway 25 and County Road 106 in Monticello. The homeowner says six horses, two family dogs and around two dozen barn cats died in the fire.
“It’s been extremely difficult,” said Tom Pribly, whose parents own the property.
His words were understood within a matter of steps down the driveway leading towards Bit of Heaven, the boarding stable that was destroyed. Parts of it were still smoldering Sunday evening, right next to the piles of blackened steel, charred hay and remnants of what used to be the barn.
“Shock, just numb right now,” said Pribyl.
Around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Pribyl said his father woke up to popping sounds coming from outside. When he pulled the curtains from his window, he saw the boarding stable on fire. He called 911, leading to a rush of several fire departments coming to the scene.
The horses boarded outside survived. Their owners stopped by throughout the day make sure they were OK, while others took their animals to another property.
“Our biggest concern was getting (the horses) water, because if you don’t have running water they’ll freeze,” said Pribyl.
He added that a family friend showed up with generators and cable to make sure the water outside remained running.
Throughout the day and into the night, countless volunteers showed up to help. They brought hay, horse tacks, halters and more as they battled bitter below-zero temperatures to keep the surviving animals healthy. Others started the difficult process of cleaning up.
“I know my parents are just overwhelmed by the community support that’s been coming their way and they’re extremely thankful for that,” he said.
The property owners don’t own any of the horses, but Pribyl said his parents feel heavy guilt for what happened. They’re focused now on salvaging what’s left and making sure the other horses can live on safely.
The family has set up a PayPal account for those who would like to make a donation. The money would go towards supplies needed to support the animals and more.