Published February 20. 2013 3:00PM Updated February 21. 2013 12:28PM
Stonington — At least one lamb, possibly more, perished Wednesday in a barn fire on the northern point of Ram Island, a private island off the coast of Noank.
Resident Dana Ragsdale said her family kept sheep, lambs and chickens in the barn, and that not all the animals were accounted for. The family’s two horses escaped without injury, she said.
Ragsdale, who lives year-round on the 16-acre island with her parents, said the family was on the mainland when they received a call about the fire.
Smoke and flames were visible on the island from shore.
As he brought construction workers to the Noank Shipyard from Fishers Island, Mike Conroy, a boat captain for BD Remodeling & Restoration, said he saw flames reaching 25 to 50 feet in the air. Conroy said he could see people on the Ram Island beach following the 3:15 p.m. blaze.
Fire dispatchers received reports of the fire from people on boats, on land and from airplanes.
Mystic Fire Chief Fritz Hilbert said when his department arrived on its fire boat, “the structure was gone.” He said the Coast Guard and Noank Fire Department assisted with the operation, which consisted mainly of dousing the flames and ensuring they didn’t spread to the house in the windy conditions.
Hilbert said the initial report was that the accidental fire was started by a heater. The family reported at least one lamb missing, he said, and any equipment stored in the barn was destroyed. Firefighters spent about three hours working the scene of the blaze, Hilbert said.
Ragsdale said livestock and several cats called the barn home. Tools, a tractor, a lawnmower and feed were also stored in the two-story structure, she said.
“We’re very fortunate to not lose the house, but we lost the barn and everything in it,” she said. “We already have damage from (Storm) Sandy. We don’t know what we’re going to do.”