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Arkansas petting zoo barn catches fire with animals inside

Cockrills Country Critters Petting Zoo lost 40 of their animals after an electrical fire started in one of the barns. Now, they are picking up the pieces.

AUSTIN, Arkansas — A local petting zoo is devastated after an accidental fire destroyed a barn with animals inside.

Cockrills Country Critters lost 40 of their animals and now they are trying to repair the damage.

Janice Cockrill-Griffin is the owner. She said it is a tragedy.

Last Thursday, she and her husband were getting ready for the winter weather, not knowing they would have to face an even worse event.

A neighbor saw the barn on fire. Rescue crews came quickly to get the animals out and put out the flames, but 40 of them couldn't be saved.

The owner said it was an electrical fire.

"Part of our family was taken away that day," said Cockrill-Griffin.

But some were saved, like Oscar the snake.

"It was right by where the fire started. There's all kinds of debris, soot, everywhere around it. Oscar was in there. Oscar is absolutely fine, not any soot on him at all," said Blake Woodson, a volunteer with the petting zoo.

It is going to be a long process to get the barn repaired with new animals.

Even though the damages is in the thousands of dollars, the animals lost can never be replaced.

Cockrills Country Critters will host a benefit concert Saturday, March 26. It will be from 11-6 with live music, vendors, and food trucks.

There is also a GoFundMe page to donate to the costs of the repairs.

The petting zoo will be open this Saturday and will continue with birthday parties and events.

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