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Fire destroys Matteson barn, killing 50 animals

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Heat from the fire melted the siding of Troy and Jody Koelbl's home in the town of Matteson on Jan. 23.Photo courtesy of Jody Koelbl

Online fundraiser aims to restock hay supply

By Erik Buchinger

A barn burned down, killing roughly 50 animals early morning Jan. 23 in the town of Matteson.

Troy and Jody Koelbl were notified by their son Austin, who saw the fire after he arrived home from work after midnight.

“He quickly got us all out of the house and to safety,” Jody said.

Jody estimated they lost about 30 chickens and 20 ducks.

Three horses ran away from the fire and hid in the woods. Two ducks made it out safely.

Jody said the family is unsure what started the fire, which damaged the house.

“On the front porch of our home, the siding is all melted off,” Jody said. “Our garage has one side that is completely burned.”

Jody said she is thankful her son returned home when he did because the fire could have spread to the house.

“It was frightening,” Jody said. “I was so excited that my son got us all out of the house.”

Jody said her vehicle sustained damage. The back of the truck and the taillights melted.

Jody said she appreciates the help and support from the community, which has donated scrap wood and hay.

Eileen Lamm organized a Facebook fundraiser called “Fundraiser for hay due to barn fire loss.” So far, $2,450 has been raised with a goal of $4,000.

“A lot of friends are helping out, and with the winter it’s kind of tough,” Jody said. “We’ve been getting scrap wood here and there to start making a bigger shelter for the animals than they have now.”

Jody said hay and shelter are their biggest needs right now.

“People have been bringing hay out because we all lost our hay,” Jody said. “We’re getting there. With the weather the way it is, it’s a slow process. As soon as we get the fundraiser money, we can pay for the hay in addition to any type of scrap wood that could add on to the small shelter we have.”

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