By: Jacob Murphey | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 6, 2020
MADISON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Ayla's Acres animal sanctuary has served as a refuge for adoptable pets for seventeen years. It's supposed to be a refuge for animals with no other options. On December 19, it became anything but.
Sanctuary manager Nedra Wooley believes the fire started when a heat lamp for the African Tortoise came to close to the hay. In an instant, the peaceful farmhouse was burning.
"It went so fast," Wooley said.
"Our smoke alarms had gone off downstairs, but apparently we didn't hear them."
By the time Wooley realized what was happening, it was too late. Almost all of her two-story home was destroyed by the flames. Risking her life, she sprung into action.
"We started grabbing as many animals as we could and getting them outside," she said.
Her actions saved lives. Wooley said first responders fighting the fire also worked to move animals to safety. Sadly, eleven animals didn't survive.
Despite the fire, Wooley vows to keep her operation going.
"It hasn't been pleasant don't get me wrong," she said.
"But we have to keep going because we have animals here still depending on us every single day. So you can't just give up. You have to keep going."
For now, she lives in a tiny travel camper on the edge of her property. On Saturday, she purchased a manufactured home to live in.
The sanctuary needs $40,000 to get going again. To learn how you can help, check out their Facebook page.
Or donate directly using PayPal.
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