HAMPSHIRE – The employees of a family-owned petting zoo business in Hampshire panicked Sunday when they saw their only barn enveloped in smoke.
Stacy Siebelkorn, owner of the Mini Zoo Crew, and her co-workers were approaching the barn near Allen Road and Route 20 to check on the animals – a routine practice – when they saw smoke. They ran inside to save trapped horses, cows, pigs, llamas, rabbits, ducks, chickens, goats and turkeys.
“We ran into the barn, and you couldn’t see in front of your face because the smoke was so thick,” Siebelkorn said. She was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation, but neither she nor the animals suffered serious injuries.
The barn, however, wasn’t as fortunate.
The petting zoo business, which supplies animals for public and private events in the northwestern suburbs, lost half of the barn in the blaze. The company’s food and hay supplies were wiped out. Water troughs were destroyed and so were their heaters.
The Zoo Crew found temporary shelter for the more than 30 animals housed in the barn.
The animals have been used at functions for Donley’s Wild West Town in Union and at in Hampshire and Gilberts.
Places such as Destination Safe Haven in Marengo, Rescue Warriors Corp in Elgin, and private residents all stepped in as short-term foster parents for the animals until the Zoo Crew can find a barn.
But the company still needs help. It started a PayPal account under “TheMiniZooCrew@hotmail.com” for donations to the business and to replace supplies.
“People have stepped up and done so quickly,” Siebelkorn said. “It’s wonderful to know the community is behind us and is here for us.”
How to help
The Mini Zoo Crew started a PayPal account under “TheMiniZooCrew@hotmail.com” for donations to the business and to restore supplies wiped out in the barn fire.