PERRYVILLE — After losing nearly all of her goats in a recent barn fire, a woman is speaking out about the dangers of heat lamps and the importance of insuring farm property.
Donna Slack, of Whites Road, said she has been using heat lamps for more than five years.
“Right along with everyone else,” Slack said.
Heat lamps were only used in Slack’s barn to warm and dry newborn goats for a few days until the babies became acclimated to the cold weather, she said.
Slack checked on the lamps and goats before she left Dec. 22 for a trip to Indiana. Later that day, she received a phone call from her neighbor with news her barn was on fire.
By the time Slack made it home, her barn was not salvageable.
Casey County firefighters determined the cause of the fire was the heat lamps Slack had set up.
“That was a rough day,” Slack said. “It was hard.”
Slack did a TV interview the weekend after the fire and said she hoped the coverage would interest some local people to help.
“I got one phone call from a lady saying she wanted to donate, but nothing’s been done,” she said. “People are tight on money, but I was hoping for a little help.”
Slack said it was a long, hard job cleaning up the rubble and the remains of the goats’ bodies.
She received help from a neighbor, and some hay was donated from Kentucky’s Mounted Search and Rescue, which she works with in the equine division.
Of 33 goats, only one baby goat, Lucky, survived.
“How he got out, I have no idea,” Slack said.
Slack is keeping 2-week-old Lucky inside her home and bottle feeding him.
Without her barn, Slack’s horses are turned out in her pasture, and her chickens are cooped in her horse trailer.
Slack said she wants to raise awareness about the dangers of using heaters in barns.
“I have just been trying to tell everybody that I can,” she said.
Slack expected to receive $4,400 in the spring from the sale of her goats. She has home insurance but did not realize it didn’t cover her barn or farm equipment. She said she is telling all of her farm-owner friends to insure their property and be prepared “when tragedy strikes.”
If anyone wants to help, donations may be made to Slack’s savings account at any Chase Bank or mailed to her address at 400 Whites Road, Perryville, Ky. 40468.
A Facebook page titled “Donna Slack Barn Fire Recovery and Help Page” is also available.