Oklahomans Show Kindness To Wagoner FFA After Barn Fire

Friday, December 13th 2013, 6:15 pm
By: Craig Day

Some of Oklahoma's Own are coming to the aid of a Future Farmers of America program after a fire-damaged a barn used to house show animals.

It's hard to explain how hard those kids work and how attached they are to their animals.

All of the show pigs were killed in the fire.

The fire that heavily damaged the FFA barn in Wagoner is obviously devastating for the students who lost those animals, but they're also seeing there can be good that comes from something so bad.

It didn't take long to put out the fire at Wagoner's FFA barn Wednesday, but it had burned long enough to kill all of the students' show pigs.

"The amount of flames that was rolling out of it, we didn't think there was much hope," Wagoner Fire Department Chief Kelly Grooms said.

Grooms said the fire likely started when a pig knocked over a heat lamp, igniting wood shavings.

"They really didn't have anywhere to go," he said. "And a lot of times, they'll run back towards the fire."

None of the students wanted to talk about losing their animals, but their teacher says it's a tough loss.

"You could tell the next day they were kind of down in the dumps," David Baker, the vocational agriculture teacher said.

Eight animals were killed, but when word of the fire spread across the state, Oklahomans stepped up to donate animals to the students.

They've had more than three times as many offers of free show pigs than they need.

"It touches you all the way down, I mean, you just thank God every day you live in a place like Oklahoma," Baker said.

The plywood and wiring are burned, and sheet metal is warped, but the structural supports are OK.

Wagoner's superintendent said they'll rebuild and improve the barn.

"The new barn we're going to go with, we're going to enclose it, and we're going to have it climate controlled where we don't have to worry about this," Wagoner Superintendent of Schools Monte Thompson said.

Plans are already in the works, but most importantly, the students who've spent so much time caring for their animals, will be able to show this season, thanks to the generosity of fellow Oklahomans.

"I'm an Oklahoman, and I mean I'm proud of it," Baker said.

Once they're past the sadness and shock over the fire and the loss of their show animals, school leaders hope the FFA students learn a life lesson about kindness and generosity, one they pay forward in the future.