Oklahoma town reeling after barn fire kills high school FFA's animals


An Oklahoma community devastated by a fire that killed five animals at a barn used by a high school agriculture club is receiving nationwide donations and support, KFOR reported.

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The animals in the barn near Cashion High School -- three show hogs, a goat and a sheep -- were killed Saturday afternoon when an electrical fire gutted the older structure used by the school’s FFA chapter, The Oklahoman reported.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire within 10 minutes, but the animals died of smoke inhalation, Cashion Fire Chief Michael Henry told The Oklahoman.

"It was just heartbreaking to see and know that you could do nothing. You just had to sit by and watch this building burn and there was nothing that you could do," Cashion High School FFA President Keegan Hertensen told KFOR.

Hertensen, 17, a senior, lost Eleanor, her show hog Eleanor, that had placed fifth at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, in June and second at the Kingfisher County Fair in August, The Oklahoman reported.

"It was really hard to lose her because I had grown so attached to her. I had had her for so many months," Hertensen told the newspaper.

Hertensen said she was at her home, located a few miles away from the barn, when the fire broke out around 3:20 p.m. Saturday.

"I didn't even analyze what was going on. So many things were running through my head," Hertensen told KFOR.

Stephanie Payne, the high school’s agriculture instructor, said her students are still in shock.

"You think that`s never going to happen, it's fine, and then it happens and it's devastating," Payne told KFOR. "We took a day and we grieved and now we are going to pick ourselves back up and we're going to figure out what the next steps are.”

News of the fire spread quickly on social media, and donations already have been pouring in, the television station reported. Hertensen told the television station she has received an offer from someone to replace her goat and sheep.

"It's so amazing to see the support that everybody has given us," Hertensen told KFOR. "It shows that there's still good in this world and it shows that one little chapter, even if something happens, this whole organization has our back and it’s so comforting."

Cashion Public Schools will be accepting donations, the Cashion Fire Department said on its Facebook page. They can be made at the main office of the school at 101 N. Euclid St., Cashion, Oklahoma 73016 during normal hours or at the Cashion Bank in reference to Cashion FFA, the fire department wrote.


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