ANNA — An early morning fire Sunday destroyed a barn, which was home to a family’s sheep. A ram, three ewes who had just given birth to lambs, five lambs and four pregnant ewes, all having twins, were lost in the fire.
“It’s been hard,” said Jessica Rickert, of Anna, Monday afternoon. The fire was at the home of her mother and father-in-law, Kim and Jeff Rickert, 12320 County Road 25A, Anna. “My in-laws had all the grandkids for the night.”
Rickert said her daughter, Keighlynn, saw an orange reflection on the wall of the house. She looked out of the house and saw the flames coming from the barn.
“She started screaming and called me,” said Rickert. “My niece called 911.”
The fire was discovered just after midnight.
Keighlynn and her grandfather, Jeff, had been in the barn earlier in the evening after one of the ewes had given birth.
“The terror you hear in a phone call from your child as they watch something they love and work so hard for just burn to the ground, it’s indescribable,” said Rickert in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon.
Both Keighlynn and her brother, Carson, show lambs during the Shelby County Fair. They had registered their projects in January, said Rickert.
Rickert said the family, which includes her husband, Shane, are in shock over the fire and the loss of their animals. They are still processing the ramifications of the fire and how they will proceed with the fair.
“We can buy new lambs,” said Rickert. “Weigh-in for the lambs is in May. People have offered to let us use their barns until we get a new one (barn).”
In addition to the sheep, Kim and Jeff Rickert lost all of their farm equipment that was stored in the barn along with other belongings.
“We have recovered all the bodies of our lambs and we’ll be burying them,” said Rickert. “We’ve found all but one ewe and we’ll be looking for her today (Monday).”
Rickert, who is a member of the Anna Rescue Squad, said the family is blessed to have another family within the rescue squad.
“They started calling me as soon as they heard about the fire,” said Rickert. “They’ve been bringing things to the house for us. They all know how much we love our lambs.
“I have the utmost respect for all the first volunteers who helped at the fire,” she said. “It’s good to know that they’re here for us.”
Rickert said the community, churches, neighbors and other “people we don’t know” have called or stopped by the house to see how they can help.
“This has been a very humbling experience,” said Rickert.
Fire departments who battled the fire included Anna, Botkins, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Maplewood, Port Jefferson, Van Buren Township and Minster. Anna Rescue, Anna Police and Shelby County deputies also assisted at the scene.
No cause for the fire has been determined.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.