The house of a rescuer destroyed by flames, firefighters save 36 animals

MANORVILLE, NY – A woman who has dedicated her life to saving wildlife saw her home ravaged by fire last month – and now needs help rebuilding herself after a fire that left her and her family , as well as 36 homeless animals.

The fire that rocked her world began on May 16 at 1:30 a.m. at her Manorville home, said Carly Sallee, who works at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Center in Hampton Bays.

Describing that terrifying night, she said: “My husband smelled smoke, then he, my son and I saw the garage was on fire. We grabbed our two dogs and ran out of the house in our pajamas. and barefoot – with no time to try to save the 36 animals inside. “

Sallee said they called the fire department and “waited for them to come while watching our house catch fire. I was scared to death thinking all my babies were inside!”

Fortunately, said Sallee, her old friend Bob Baylis, a firefighter from Manorville, was at the scene and knew she was in rehab with many animals inside.

“The firefighters were amazing, wondering what kind of animals there were and how many. They immediately brought in commercial fans and were able to keep the smoke in the basement at bay while carrying incubators that were in there. upstairs safely out of the house. A firefighter There was even a blind squirrel in a transport cage that he was able to catch. There were cats, ferrets, flying squirrels, gray squirrels in the East, rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters and raccoons Fortunately, all animals lived.

Carly Sallee has dedicated her life to rescuing animals. / Courtesy of Carly Sallee

Sallee began volunteering at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Center in 2013, taking on the overflow of orphaned newborn mammals. “My heart has always been with orphaned babies and I have cared for them at home for over 35 years,” she said.

Sallee and her family lived in their Manorville home for 15 years before the fire.

“My basement was its own wildlife sanctuary where I was able to take care of my newborn babies,” she said.

Now, however, his house has been condemned. She is no longer able to keep her animals there – and most have been taken in by staff at the Wildlife Center, or are in fact remaining to the rescue.

All, however, except for the cats she trapped, neutered and unable to release at one location in Riverhead for fear they might be poisoned, Sallee said.

“They now live outside with the covered porch for shelter. I also have blind cats that I adopted from the Brookhaven Animal Shelter years ago around Christmas, to give them a better home than the little cage that they were doomed – but, now, unfortunately, they live in an outdoor enclosure that was built to rehabilitate raccoons. ”

With the exception of cats that are outdoors, all other animals are in the homes or to the rescue. She and her husband visit their fire-damaged home three times a day to make sure that the remaining outdoor animals are fed, have fresh water, and are treated for fleas and ticks, “and are just loved, ”she said. “I’m heartbroken that I can’t be there for them, but they are taken care of.”

Sallee, who traveled to Niagara Falls in 2014 to take a course to later obtain her rabies vector license, was outraged when a Brookhaven Town animal control officer contacted her about a complaint about “abandoned animals” at their home.

“I was scared and I was horrified!” she said. How could anyone think I was neglecting them? Each of my neighbors knows me and knows that I am there every day. They know that I have dedicated my life to saving animals. I would never have abandoned any animal. I just wish the person who filed the complaint took the time to ask my neighbors. I have been around; it would have saved a lot of pain and heartache. Fortunately, the officer who came to the house knew everything was taken care of and the case was closed immediately. “

There are other hurdles to overcome, including the fact that his house can take up to a year to become habitable again, Sallee said. To that end, his fellow rescue workers launched a GoFundMe page, “Help Carly and her family after a devastating fire. “

“Our beautiful friend, mentor and colleague, Carly, who has dedicated her life to saving all creatures, large and small, wild and domestic, lost the house that her family worked so hard to build,” the page said. From keepsakes with her children and grandchildren to personalized children’s rooms for wild babies to the incredible cattery for neglected and often sick kittens that she and her husband have designed and created with their own funds, the house will be sadly missed, but by the grace of God and the quick action of the family, not a person or an animal was harmed. “

Carly not only works at home with her animals, but also at the nonprofit Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center, rescuing sick, injured and orphaned wild animals day and night, the page said.

“Please help us support this amazing woman who always speaks out for those with no voice during this difficult time. At present, the family has lost their vehicles and the immediate need is to ‘a car that we just learned will not be covered by insurance. Carly will continue her lifelong mission for these animals – her first thought right after that devastating fire – and, this time, she needs our help. . “

Make a donation, Click here.

“People said I gave my whole life, but isn’t that the point of life?” Sallee asked. “There are so many people giving every day and I am blessed to know you. Those who welcomed my animals into their homes, your generous donations, your love and support. And a special thank you to my daughters and families who welcomed us into their homes because we had nowhere to go. “

Sallee also thanked his daughter Heather who took responsibility for rebuilding their lives, talking to the insurance company, meeting people with us, handling “the endless phone calls and paperwork, not once for. complaining but embracing the task wholeheartedly. I can never tell you how much I love you and how proud I am to have you as a daughter. “

To the community, she said, “You all hold a special place in my heart.

She added: “All my neighbors, all my friends and people I don’t even know have reached out and for that I am very grateful. There are really a lot of great people in this world.”

About Chuck Keeton

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