COLUMBIA — A fire Wednesday night in western Boone County burned down a barn and killed 43 pigs.
The barn's owner, George Tutt, 65, went to use the restroom at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and looked outside to find his barn on fire, said his son Kevin Tutt, 44, who was visiting his father from Iowa.
The two turned on a hose in an attempt to save the pigs. Kevin Tutt said two sows escaped and one had bad burns.
“It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen in my life I think," he said. "Watching those pigs squeal — they weren’t able to do nothing."
Gale Blomenkamp, division chief of the Boone County Fire Protection District, said that a call about the fire came in at about 10:50 p.m. Crews arrived at 7000 W. Gillespie Bridge Road to find the barn engulfed in flames and partially collapsed.
Seven units were dispatched, and three were on the scene for about an hour and a half, Blomenkamp said. He said a firefighter cut his hand Wednesday night, but there were no other human injuries.
Although Blomenkamp said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Kevin Tutt said he thinks it could have been caused by a boar knocking over a heating lamp used for a litter of one-week-old piglets in the barn.
Kevin Tutt said his family used the pigs for show in various county fairs.
“It’s kinda sad because (the pigs) were part of the 4-H project," he said. "We can replace the barn, but we can’t replace those genetics."
Kevin Tutt said his dad got the pigs in spring of 2008, and that he might have given each of his grandchildren a pig.
“We were just kinda getting started, really," he said. "Hopefully we can build back up and start over somehow."