More than 300 animals escape injury in Living Treasures fire
Matt Dumbauld stood outside the charred remains of his residence at Living Treasures Wild Animal Park in Donegal Township Monday morning, cuddling a 6-month-old kangaroo named Reagan.
The park, its Log Cabin Lodge and Suites, Mountain Horse Saddlery and Gift Shop and Highlands Hall banquet facility all were open Monday, hours after a fire destroyed several buildings.
The kangaroo was one of seven animals, including another baby kangaroo, three dogs and two pot-bellied pigs, who live with Dumbauld, the park manager, and his wife, Fawn.
“Everybody is safe, everything is good. No people, no animals were hurt,” Dumbauld said.
The zoo is home to more than 300 animals, including lions, tigers and bears.
A vacant two-bedroom suite, a storage building full of horse feed for sale and Dumbauld's residence were damaged.
Firefighters from Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset counties battled the fire, which started about 11:15 p.m. Sunday, Dumbauld said.
“There is a double roof on there that was giving us a bit of difficulty. The fire got in between the roofs to make it a little harder to get to,” said Chief Shawn Kestner of Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.
Dumbauld, 32, and his wife, 31, have been on-site park managers for six years.
Park owner Tom Guiher is his wife's father, Dumbauld said.
“I found the fire. My wife and I were watching television and I heard a crackling sound from the bathroom. I saw smoke and went outside and saw the storage room on fire,” Dumbauld said.
He called 911 and helped to kick in a door at one undamaged suite after the occupants failed to open the door.
As a precaution, overnight guests were relocated to a nearby hotel, Dumbauld said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, he said, but appears to have been electrical in nature.
“Thankfully the way the wind and everything blew last night, we didn't have any (smoke) go to the zoo,” Dumbauld said.
Firefighters were at the park until about 4:15 a.m., Dumbauld said.
Guiher founded the park's Moraine location near New Castle in 1992, and opened the Laurel Highlands park in 1998.
Among the animals visitors can view, and sometimes pet and feed, are an alpaca, alligator, Brahma bull, black swan, dromedary camel, timber wolf, white bison and zebra.
By mid-morning Monday, visitors were filling the park's lot.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates claim Ishikawa off waivers; Marte injured
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park in ‘freak accident’
- Initials carved into pig in Georges Township
- Don’t remove history’s lessons
- Police: Maine man shoots off firework from top of head, dies
- Murrysville home damaged in blaze
- Off to Market
- How to improve the life of an overweight cat, dog
- South Fayette, Chartiers Valley schools lead security trend
- Life is a cabaret
- Missing man found in Garfield