LARAMIE -- Roughly two months after Laramie's nonprofit animal sanctuary, Home On the Range, moved to its location near Cavalryman Steakhouse, the on-site trailer home of the nonprofit's director burned down Tuesday afternoon.
The animal sanctuary's director and founder, Deb Roberts, was not home at the time her trailer was destroyed by the fire.
"She lost everything in it. She has the clothes on her back and her cell phone," said Pam Brekken, vice president of the animal sanctuary.
The blaze killed Roberts's four dogs: Teal Eye, Merlin, Max and Bohdi.
Brekken said she's not sure what caused the fire.
Firefighters from Laramie Fire Department and three of Albany County Fire District No. 1's fire stations all responded to the fire.
Dylan Whitmer, fire chief for ACFD No. 1's central station, told the Laramie Boomerang on Thursday that wind was a factor in the fire but said he couldn't comment on the cause of the fire because he had not received the fire investigator's report.
Home On the Range had occupied a 60-acre leased parcel on Howe Road from 2011 to 2019 until the property owner forced the animal sanctuary to leave.
With funding hard to come by, it appeared at one point last year that the nonprofit might need to close.
However, enough donations, including a single $25,000 gift, allowed the group to move to its new location and purchase housing for its animals.
Home On the Range has seven donkeys, six goats, three horses, two ponies, one sheep and some chickens. The organization takes in old, neglected, abused and abandoned animals.
While the nonprofit has been mostly settled on its new property, Brekken said Home On The Range is still working on getting water and electrical hook-ups. Meanwhile, Roberts has been hauling water twice a day.
Tuesday's disaster creates a new financial challenge for Home On the Range, as well as a temporary logistical challenge for Roberts to take care of the animals while living off-site.
"We'll still move forward, but we're not sure what it'll look like now," Brekken said.
To help recover from Tuesday's fire, Home On the Range has set up a fund at State Bank of Laramie on Grand Avenue under the name Home on the Range Recovery Fund.
Cash and check donations are ideal, Brekken said. Donors can also give money to the nonprofit at www.laramiehomeontherange.org using a credit card.