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Multi-Million-Dollar Camel Fire in Germany

Popular Farm Completely Destroyed

A VICIOUS FIRE SWEPT THROUGH a camel farm near Stuttgart, Germany, Thursday morning killing 86 of the 91 beasts in their stalls.

dpa

The farm is a popular attraction for adults and children alike that provided camel rides, children's birthday parties and animal-assisted therapy treatments, along with a sideline of camel milk sales.  The owner of the farm was able to save five of the camels after the fire was discovered, but the rest were trapped in their stalls and perished in the fire.

The estimated loss (in U.S. dollars) is $2.7 million.

Der Spiegel is reporting this morning:

The fire, which was reported by local residents around 2 a.m., engulfed the barn housing the camels in flames. Only five camels that were not in the barn at the time could be rescued by the owner. Around 100 firefighters fought to control the blaze.

The cause of the fire remains unclear, and local police said they were investigating all leads. "We're looking for the needle in the haystack," one investigator said.

In a message posted on its website, the farm wrote: "Last night the camel farm burned down. Most of the animals perished. We ask that you please do not call at the moment."

According to German news agency DPA, farm owner Wilhelm Breitling had his first encounter with camels during a 1975 trip to North Africa. He purchased his first camel in 1987 and brought it back to Germany. He then opened his farm in May 2002. According to media reports, he had unsuccessfully sought a buyer for the farm in recent years.

June 2012 photo of owner Wilhelm Breitling with
some of his herd.  (dpa photo)

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