KILGORE (KYTX) - "The Kilgore man who owns the birds doesn't run a rescue or business, he just has a passion for animals. The family members I spoke with say that their birds became a like part of the family. And this was the last thing they expected on Father's Day."
Shortly after 1 PM Sunday afternoon, these 3 buildings filled with exotic birds caught fire, killing hundreds of birds inside. The home was fine. But Tena Sheffer says her father in law who owns the animals was devastated. And it's hitting his children and grandchildren hard.
"It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to keep his birds. He has spent his whole life working for them"
Firefighters responded within about 10 minutes.but Kilgore Fire Marshall Brandon Bigos says the 3 buildings were all a complete loss. Three fire departments tried to stop the out-of-control blaze as flames stretched into the air. Neighbors that live next to the burned buildings say that they thought their own homes were in jeopardy.
"Neighbors next to the buildings say they grabbed buckets and water hoses, and did everything they could to put out the flames"
"I just started spraying and tried to reach the flames ya know."
The 3 buildings were used to keep Tena's father in law's bird collection of parakeets, toucans, macaws, and several other breeds next to his home off of Harris Street in Kilgore.
The fire marshal says the fire began because of misuse of an extension cord.
Tena Sheffer says that her 2 young children have grown up with these birds and explaining what happened has been difficult.
"The best thing we could say was that people are people, and birds are birds. All the people got out safely"
"Fire Investigators say that the man who owns the birds ran into the burning building several times to save as many birds as he could. No people were hurt in the fire. Reporting from the Longview Bureau, I'm Kevin Boyce, KYTX CBS 19 News."