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November 20, 2012

Fire finds animal mission owner again

Tonawanda News — BLASDELL — The weekend before a new barn was to be raised at the Lakeview Animal Sanctuary, another fire struck Sandi Pfohl’s animal rescue mission.

Her 1999 Chevy Blazer was destroyed in a fire while her entourage was enroute to the annual Pro Plan Rally to Rescue Adoption at the Big Tree Firehall on Saturday. There were no serious injuries reported and, yes, Thomas T. Butterball, the wild turkey which was rescued by Pfohl several years ago, survived fire again to celebrate his 11th Thanksgiving.

Pfohl and Pete Marko were leading in a truck pulling a trailer with more than 12 animals for the petting zoo. Ricky Olsen and another woman were in the Blazer which began to smoke after they left the Thruway at Route 179, Mile Strip Road. Pfohl was alerted by phone.

“I didn’t see it go up,” Pfohl said. “We turned around and it was fully engulfed in flames.”

The women escaped the Blazer and so did Thomas T. Butterball and Angel, Pfohl’s pet dog. The turkey, which survived the devastating barn fire on Oct. 11, was quickly corralled on the side of the road. The dog, a black and white mix, ran across Mile Strip and had to be chased down.

Donna Erickson, the person in charge of the Rally to Rescue, was waiting anxiously at the hall. Lakeview’s petting zoo has been a popular part of the Pre-Holiday Pet Expo since the rescue began four years ago.

“I went outside to look for them and was thinking, ‘where the heck is the petting zoo?’ “ Erickson said. “The kids love it. They give pony rides. Tom Turkey walks around the hall visiting people.”

Erickson soon learned of the fire. “Word spread. Everyone was worried,” she said.

The Big Tree Volunteers and the Hamburg Fire Company responded. Finally, Erickson saw the truck and trailer pull in.

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