Sutton Avian Research Center Needs Help After Wildfire Damages Property

Friday, April 7th 2017, 9:55 pm
By: News On 6

Sutton Avian Research Center says it's grateful the fire never got to its main building, but it did destroy several others, including what used to be a storage shed.

Firefighters battled the wildfire for about a week.

As flames crept dangerously close, employees moved all of the center's valuable artwork and data out of the building to save it.

"Certainly, we were anxious,” said Dr. Steve Sherrod, Executive Director Emeritus. “We have experienced a few fires up here before that we have fought into the night, but nothing of this magnitude."

Airplanes dropped loads of liquid, coating the property in bright red flame retardant.

"They really saved us; without that help, we would not be here,” said Dr. Sherrod.

When the smoke cleared, employees took stock of what they lost.

"We didn't lose any of the main buildings,” Dr. Sherrod stated. “But we lost a couple of sheds filled with materials, and it was a scary situation."

Several storage buildings burned down. Inside was their $4,000 riding mower, which the center needs to maintain its 40 acres, as well as seven bird cages worth about a $1,000 each.

The center will also need to hire clean-up crews to wash away the fire retardant.

Meanwhile, it's still working on research projects and doesn't have the funds to pay for these repairs.

"We don't have funds set up for emergency repairs,” said Dr. Sherrod. “That's what we're facing now, is trying to get our place back in order."

If you'd like to help, visit the Center’s website