Fire at bird sanctuary claims lives of at least 80 birds

April 1, 2021 GMT

HOPKINTON, R.I. (AP) — About 80 birds died of smoke inhalation in a fire early Thursday at a Rhode Island bird sanctuary, but hundreds of others survived, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at the Foster Parrots Ltd. and the New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary in Hopkinton at about 5:30 a.m., Ashaway Fire Assistant Chief Todd Allen told The Sun of Westerly.

Foster Parrots posted on its Facebook page that 80 to 100 birds and other animals died in the fire and “a third of the building is in ruins.”

“Staff and volunteers are numb with grief and shock,” the organization said in the post.

The fire was contained to one section of the building, no one was injured and hundreds of birds in other areas of the building survived, Allen said.


Fire crews from several area departments helped tackle the blaze, which was under control by about 7:30 a.m.

Because of the sanctuary’s location, firefighters used pumper and tanker trucks in rotation to deliver water collected from nearby ponds, Allen said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but is not considered suspicious.

Foster Parrots on its website says it houses and cares for parrots and other exotic birds that have been abused or given up by owners who can no longer care for them.