Father and son hope to help after devastating barn fire kills 55 pigs

Father and son hope to help after devastating barn fire kills 55 show pigs. Claudia Coco / WGXA News

PERRY, Ga -- Early Saturday morning a fire destroyed, the Perry High School's Future Farmers of America program's barn and killed all 55 student owned pigs. Robby Rowell has three children that have all participated in Future Farmers of America at Perry High School. It's a program that owns show pigs in the Houston County School District. Rowell said he was devastated when he heard the news.

"It's not just a project for the kids, it brings the family together," Robby said. "You know we're all, we're all five of us out there at one time doing stuff with these pigs."

Robbie's son, Rhett Rowell, is one of the lucky ones. He keeps his pigs at home. Robby said that didn't change the way he felt when he showed up at the barn, that's now in ashes. He said the entire FFA community feels that loss.

"You know to go through that barn yesterday, to see you know those pigs, what happened to em' it hit home," Robby said.

Robby said the pig project teaches the kids responsibility.

"They understand from start to finish, they had a responsibility to raise that animal," said Robby.

Rhett Rowell is a junior at Perry High School, and said he was shocked when he heard the news.

"They become part of the class kind of, and that's something that we do every day," Rhett said. "So people get attached to them, and to see everything just up and gone it's kind of devastating."

Rhett said they'll rebuild the barn. It's been done before.

"It was built by my brothers class, and he helped build it," Rhett said. "And I helped extend it when they were doing that."

Rhett said moving forward he and his family are going to do whatever they can to help. Robby said they have space for two more pigs, and has offered to keep them if any FFA members decide to buy new pigs.

State Fire Marshal JAmes Atkins rule the fire's cause as "undetermined," but he is not ruling out a heat lamp as the cause.

The Perry High School FFA set up a GoFundMe page, and in 48 hours has already raised over $9,000.

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