SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A wildlife rehabilitation center reopened Monday, two months after a devastating fire burned it to the ground, taking dozens of animals’ lives.

Tragedy struck at Red Creek Wildlife Center in December when flames tore through one of the buildings, claiming the lives of 41 animals. After two months of regrouping, the center is finally ready to get back to work.

“The loss of all the animals is awful. That really hit home to me, that was hard. But being here and being able to see the animals. That’s an amazing thing,” described Red Creek Wildlife Center intern Kandace Loup.

A fresh start has already begun as an injured dove was dropped off the morning of the grand re-opening. Red Creek staff is back to having enough resources to care for almost anything that comes their way.

“The day before the fire, we could take in just about every Pennsylvania species with every condition that they could come in with, and the next day, we had nothing,” recalled Peggy Hentz, founder of Red Creek Wildlife Center.

None of the rebuilding could have been possible without the help of the community, especially one anonymous donor.

“They are gifting up to one million dollars as a two-to-one match. So as we raise money for the new building, for every dollar someone donates we’ll get two more,” explained Hentz.

The money will go towards replacing a part of what the fire stole.

The wildlife center will be welcoming two brand new buildings on location to hold even more animals. They hope to break ground for the new facilities come Spring, and they are anticipating new patients to fill the space.

“I think we’re gonna be definitely busier than we’ve ever been. Everyone knows we’re here. More people know all about us and know that there is wildlife rehab out there for injured, orphaned, sick wildlife of Pennsylvania,” said Gregory Nason, head rehabilitator at the Red Creek Wildlife Center.

Although staff says the December blaze will leave a dark cloud over them, so much light has shown through since.

“Let the tears shed in 2022 water the seeds for 2023, and that’s kind of what we’re looking at,” stated Hentz.

The Red Creek Wildlife Center is now open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To learn more about Red Creek’s mission and plan for the future, visit their website.