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Licking County Barn Fire Kills Dozens of Animals

LICKING COUNTY (Ken Hines) -- Investigators believe a barn fire that killed dozens of animals early Thursday morning may have been sparked by heat lamps.

As many as 40 goats -- along with chickens, cows, and pigs -- were killed by a fire that ignited at approximately 2 a.m. at a barn at R&R Stables on Watkins Road near Pataskala.

Crews from ten departments were called upon to fight the flames, which had engulfed the barn by the time fire fighters arrived at the scene.

Responders were forced to battle the blaze with water from tanker trucks more than a mile from the burning barn. Efforts to extinguish the fire were compounded by the size of the barn, as well as icy conditions.

The cold weather that made fire fighters' efforts more difficult may have set in motion the chain of events that led to the blaze, according to investigators, who believe heat lamps installed in the barn by the owners of the farm likely sparked the flames.

R&R operators were at a loss for words after the deaths of their beloved animals, according to Granville Township Fire Chief Jeff Hussey.

"They're just very distraught right now," he said. "We haven't had a lot of interaction. They gave us an idea of what was in the barn."

Emergency responders were able to save several animals who were outside the barn while the fire raged, including chickens who were inside a coop attached to the burning structure, and horses who are boarded at the farm.
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