BITHLO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Volunteers are stepping up after a fire in Orange County on Monday destroyed a wildlife sanctuary, leaving hundreds of animals without a home.
The fire broke out just before 1:30 a.m. on Monday at the Second Chance Wildlife Sanctuary in Bithlo. The owner of the sanctuary, Jim Bronzo, was asleep when he was awakened by peacocks on the property. Flames had erupted, shooting 30 feet into the air.
Bronzo escaped and was able to save some of the animals, but more than three dozen are either dead or unaccounted for, including giant tortoises, birds, and snakes.
Several of the animals that survived the fire are still at the sanctuary as of Tuesday morning. The house is completely burned down, but a fence remains. Strangers and friends are stepping up to help the owner take care of the 200 surviving animals, including llamas, swans, and goats.
Volunteer Ruben Saldana says that "I don't have money to provide for him, but I'll come out here and volunteer all my time. I can get a squad up of some volunteers."
The owner of the sanctuary is still trying to figure out what comes next. Bronzo has spent 40 years of his life rescuing and caring for animals. He will need help rebuilding after this tragic incident. A GoFundMe has been created with this intention.
State Arson investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire.