December 10, 2023

The owner of an alpaca farm is mourning the loss of nine of her animals, including her dog, after a barn was destroyed by fire outside of Calgary this week.

Carmen Jadick woke up to the sound of dogs barking Tuesday night and saw 500 square bales of hay, recently delivered to her alpaca farm near Millarville, were engulfed in flames.

“I came out and I was in shock.  I had a group of six female alpacas –  one had a jaw infection, some were getting extra medication and mash and they all perished,”  said Jadick, the owner of Prairie Spirit Alpacas.

She said she struggled to get one of the larger animals to safety.

“One girl was burned – she could stand, but she wouldn’t stand.  It was so hard for me to get her because she’s heavy,” Jadick told Global News. “The smaller ones I could pick up and move but she was petrified and finally when the firemen came they helped me.

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“I don’t know what happened to her because she’s not around now. I think she must have gone back in the barn because she is gone.”

The fire spread from the bales to the barn and Jadick raced to rescue her herd but eight of them died as did her dog Sophie.

“I couldn’t get her out. Sophie has been with me from the beginning.  She has saved my alpacas from the coyotes.  She didn’t deserve to be burned alive,” Jadick said.

A few injured animals have singed fleece but Carmen says most have escaped serious skin damage because of their protective wool.

“I didn’t realize it until now how really fire resistant it is,” said Jadick. “The really badly burned ones, it just crumbled off of them but their skin was actually okay underneath.”

Neighbours and strangers have come together to help, seizing their chance to give back to a person who has hosted Ukrainian refugees and is always looking out for others.

“She’s such a giving person and she cares so much about her animals. She’s a dedicated farmer – a one woman show,” said Jennie Shipley, the organizer of a GoFundMe campaign supporting Jadick.

“Winter is coming and now the animals have no shelter. The food was destroyed and there’s nothing left”

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Jadick says she’s been overwhelmed by the support.

“It was the worst night of my life and now I’m realizing it just shows me how grateful I am to the community that I have,” said Jadick.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Diamond Valley Fire Department and members of the Foothills Fire Department assisted in putting out the fire.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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