Agri-science students in Olivet, Michigan are raising money to rebuild after a Tuesday morning fire destroyed their barn on the high school campus and killed more than a dozen animals.
“It’s a devastating loss to the kids,” said Loren Griffin, facilities manager for the school district. “Olivet’s a really tight-knit community. Hopefully, with community involvement, we’ll definitely be rebuilding.”
Eleven pigs, several feeder cows and two steers died in the blaze, which began around 2 a.m. in the five-year-old agriculture building near the new football stadium, Griffin said.
Firefighters responded to a call that the football stadium was burning and arrived to find the 40-foot by 60-foot barn engulfed in flames, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department said.
The fire also damaged a nearby greenhouse, melting the plastic roof, officials said.
The cause remains under investigation.
The barn and greenhouse were being used by students in the district’s FFA program, and at least some of the animals were being raised for the county fair, Griffin said. The students raise money to fund their projects, he said.
Olivet has an active agri-science program, with 66 students enrolled at the end of last year, Michigan FFA officials said.
The state organization on Tuesday was spreading word of the fire to members around the state, encouraging them to donate to the rebuilding effort, Executive Secretary David Wyrick said.
“They’ll dig back in, and they’ll recover from it,” he said.
The Olivet FFA had raised more than $1,000 as of late Tuesday afternoon through its fundraising site, www.gofundme.com/863j8s. Their fundraising goal is $25,000.