Huge fire at Conroe barn kills 17 show animals

More than a dozen animals died in the fire at a Conroe barn

February 2, 2011 2:48:01 PM PST
More than a dozen pigs were killed overnight when the barn they were in burned down. The fire broke out late Tuesday inside the Conroe ISD's agricultural barn on Pruitt Road.

Fire investigators have concluded the blaze was accidental. They say it was caused by one of 17 heat lamps used inside the barn to keep the pigs warm. It apparently ignited the hay or bedding material in the barn.

Despite the frigid temperatures Wednesday morning, what's left of Conroe ISD's swine barn is still smoldered. Fire investigators say the wind whipped through the open-sided barn Tuesday night, quickly consuming the entire structure.

All 17 show hogs died.

"I couldn't believe it, so I was just in shock. Honestly, I could not believe what happened," student Edward Picos said.

Among the pigs is Rocky, a Yorkshire that's been raised by Picos since December.

"He'll roll over and let you scratch his belly," Picos said. "He would just sit there and his eyes would roll back in his head; he'd sit there and let you do it all day."

Picos is one of 15 or so students from FFA at College Park and The Woodlands High Schools who were raising the pigs. It's a time consuming endeavor where every day, twice a day, they clean, feed and walk the pigs. It's a huge commitment and many bought the animals themselves.

Two were set to be shown in San Antonio next week; the others were being prepared to show at the Montgomery County Fair in April.

"To lose them in this way is something you can never prepare yourself for. We can't prepare ourselves for that as educators; we can't really prepare the students for a tragedy like what happened here last night," teacher Matt Turner said.

So the students will not be able to sell the animals and they will never be able to recoup the money they invested to put into the purchase of another animal or to be used as to further their educations. That's why the school has put together an account where you can help.

    Donations can be made at any Woodforest bank:

    Woodforest Bank
    "The Woodlands FFA/College Park FFA Barn Fund"