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Animals killed in barn fire

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Medicine Park_An explosive barn fire in Medicine Park destroyed months of hard work by an FFA student at Elgin High School.

The fire broke out on property on Maddische Road around 10:30 Wednesday morning.

A neighbor spotted thick black smoke coming from the barn and called 911.

When firefighters  got to the scene, the flames had engulfed the barn, and several propane tanks and heaters were exploding inside of it. To make matters worse, the student's two show pigs were trapped inside the barn, and unfortunately did not make it out alive.

They don't know the exact cause of the fire yet. But, firefighters say that it may have been caused by some heat lamps that were inside the barn. They're commonly used by farmers to keep their show animals warm.

Elgin FFA teacher Michael Gustafson says his heart sank when he got the call about a barn fire at the home of one of his students. He says reality quickly set in when they got to the scene and saw the barn engulfed in flames

"It's a tragedy. We've had a big loss. A lot of time and money and effort went into his project, so, that's all gone right now. It's something we can't replace," Gustafson said.

He says he felt helpless as firefighters tried to battle the flames, especially considering the pigs trapped inside.

"It looked like the worst possible scene you could imagine. Flames just everywhere. There were pigs inside. They were kicking. It was...terrible, " said Brandon Stovall, firefighter.

Stovall says the danger intensified when they heard a loud boom.

"There were some tanks and heaters in there and as the fire built, they started to explode"

Gustafson says as the  walls of the barn came crashing down, he found himself at a loss for words: what do you say to a student whose hard work was destroyed in an instant?

"He does a great job for me. It's just upsetting to know there's no words of comfort to be able to tell him that things are going to be okay. He's just going to have to sit out this season," said Gustafson.

Randy Smith, the one who spotted the fire, says he feels bad for his neighbor's son. He says the fire gave him an eerie sense of deja vu.

"There was an instance of this happening this November in Sterling. The FFA advisor there brought some pigs there from the northern part of the country that he'd purchased for the students at Sterling. My two kids had pigs there that burned up. It leaves you feeling helpless"

Gustafson says his student had just taken one of the pigs to a show last week, and was planning on taking them to the Oklahoma Youth Expo in March.

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