37 Cattle Killed In Muskogee Fire

Monday, April 13th 2009, 4:22 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, News On 6

MUSKOGEE, OK -- A fire over the weekend destroyed most of the Muskogee Stockyards and Livestock Auction and killed more than three dozen head of cattle.

Normally, Monday would be the weekly sale day at the Muskogee Stockyards and Livestock Auction. Monday was anything but a normal day.

"It was hot. It was hot. You get to noticing, a lot of the steel gates that we've put in this building, melted," said Irvin Miller, the Muskogee Stockyards and Livestock Auction owner.

There isn't much left but charred debris at the stockyards after a fire swept through the auction early Saturday morning.

"Devastating, devastating to show up and see what it actually looks like," said Miller.

The fire destroyed four barns. A veterinarian checked out nine surviving head of cattle, but 37 were killed.

"Wood and steel structure, you can replace, but the cattle, you can't replace them and just knowing how that possibly could have suffered. That tore me up," said Miller.

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from destroying a building that houses the auction ring, cafe and office, but it has extensive smoke and water damage.

"They did a tremendous job in saving what they could save," said Miller.

In addition to losing the barns and cattle in the fire, the livestock auction also lost a lot of equipment it uses on a daily basis, things like four wheelers, heavy equipment, welders and other tools. That's going to make starting over from scratch that much more difficult.

An insurance adjustor will inspect the damage Tuesday.

Clean-up is expected to begin before the end of the week.

Miller hopes to rebuild as quickly as possible so his 25 employees won't be out of work long.

But it could be this fall before the business is rebuilt and reopened.

"Pretty much a total loss, there's nothing left," said Miller.

Miller estimates it will take more than $1 million to rebuild.

The Muskogee Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.