CLARKS HILL, Ind. -- Children and adults cried Saturday when they learned that a barn fire killed 36 goats used by 4-H members for the annual Tippecanoe County 4-H Fair.
But things are looking up. A Clinton County woman already has sold the 4-H'ers five pedigree goats -- at $50 each, instead of usual $125 to $175 -- plus, she donated seven bales of hay.
Fire quickly destroyed Mike Summerfield's barn and the goats shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday. The Clarks Hill volunteer fire department responded.
"My husband Mike is a member of the fire department," Leslie Summerfield said Monday. She is former 10-year 4-H member who showed goats. "His beeper went off at 1:10 a.m. and he found out it was our address.
"The barn is about 1.5 miles down the road. He could see the flames. Mike went straight to it, but within two minutes the barn collapsed. For his own safety, he didn't go in."
Firefighters believe the blaze was accidental. She said it's likely a goat knocked over a heating lamp used to keep baby goats warm.
Leslie Summerfield's mother, Kathy Monjon, is the 4-H leader of the Lauramie Township Willing Workers Club, which housed goats in the barn.
"This is so gut-wrenching," Monjon said. "When I was called, my first thought was, 'Did any of the goats get out?'"
"We are a close family. We have to learn from this experience and go on."
The Summerfields could not get insurance on the barn because they do not live on the property.
They let the 4-H members borrow the goats for their county fair projects. The 4-H members would visit the goats at the Summerfield barn to feed and care for them.
Monjon has one granddaugher and three grandsons who show goats. Nine of her club members and two from another club had goats in the barn. She said the challenge is to replace the goats and find a place to house them.
"I had an offer Sunday night from a relative with a construction company who said he if we get the materials, he will build a new barn," Monjon said.