Berlin, Germany – 86 camels have died in a fire that devastated a camel farm in Germany’s Black Forest. The damage is estimated to be nearly $3 million.
Over 140 volunteer firefighters fought to save the animals and property. Although five camels were spared, the other 86 were trapped in buildings and could not be reached. Thankfully no humans were harmed in the blaze.
William Breitling, age 73, gained an interest in camels during a trip to North Africa in 1975. He purchased his first camel in 1987 and opened the farm to the public in 2002. As reported by BBC, he has spent most of his life working with camels. Although he had planned to sell the farm, the fire has left him in a “state of shock.”
Visitors to Breitling’s farm were able to pet the camels and watch them being milked and fed. Several camels on the farm were used for animal-assisted therapy. The farm also offered birthday party packages for children and sold camel milk. As reported by Spiegel Online, almost 120 camels were born on the farm.
Counselors on the scene were helping to console Breitling and his family, who are devastated. Local clergy are helping the the family deal with the loss.
The Breitlings issued a statement on their website, announcing that the farm had been destroyed and they wish to be left alone as they recover.
Investigators have not found a reasonable explanation for the cause of the fire. So far they have not found any evidence suggesting that the fire that killed 86 camels was set intentionally.