DES MOINES, Iowa –When she got the call this morning Lynn Robbins immediately thought of the animals inside her barn, including two therapy horses. Robbins’ barn caught fire early Thursday morning, crews contained the flames but couldn’t save the barn at Shangri-La Animal Rescue just outside of Norwalk.
“All I could think of was Pearl and Hidalgo, and they made it, they made it out. I was hoping the goats would make it out but they didn’t…Jellybean, Matilda, and Mo…and they…they were going to have babies” she said through the tears.
Pearl and Hidalgo are used to cheer people up at hospitals and nursing homes. Robbins also says the barn held a lot of emotional attachment.
“It took a long time to build that barn, we built it piece by piece ourselves” said Robbins.
But it also held the horse’s food supply, over $1,500 worth of hay. Robbins’ main concern now is finding the money to replace it.
“This year they went from $45 to $120 a bale, so we’ve been having a terrible time finding any hay, and all that hay in the barn was supposed to get us through” she said.
Robbins’ niece Beverly Jenk says it’s a big blow.
“I was devastated, devastated; because I know what she means to the community of people who love animals. To have this loss is a heartbreaking situation” said Jenk.
Beverly has started a gofundme page to raise money for replacement food and hopefully a replacement barn. She says if you can’t donate with feed or funding, her aunt also needs some kindness.
“People that know her need to come out and just say or give her a holler ‘we’re there, we’re thinking of you’, whatever, just to bring her spirits back up” she said.
The community rallied around Robbins in 2013 after she was struck by a drunk driver injuring her neck. Robbins was in a brace for weeks and unable to work. The community raised thousands of dollars to keep the rescue going. Beverly says she believes Central Iowa will do it again.
“With all the negativity now something like this, when people step up, means the world is not as bad as it is” said Jenk.
Two cats also died in the fire. Crews are still working to investigate what sparked the blaze.