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RANGELY I After an electrical fire at the Rangely 4-H community pens killed several 4-H project pigs and damaged the structure more than a week ago, residents and sympathizers are responding to the organization’s needs.
Donors have already given enough money to cover the cost of replacing five pigs that died in last Monday’s fire plus another that was seriously injured. Six new animals will have temporary homes until the new pens are complete, thanks to residents offering shelters.
More donations have come in from around the area to help with other replacement costs.
“By the second day (after the fire), people all over Colorado and parts of Utah had heard about the pens burning,” Rangely 4-H coordinator Jayda Lewis said. “We’ve gotten donations to help replace some of the kids’ supplies that got burned — water barrels and things like that. Not everything is replaced yet, but that would be nice.”
Lewis said any money donated goes first to meet the children’s project needs with remaining funds to help with the material costs of replacing pens.
That’s a good thing, since the estimated cost of fixing the damaged pens is in the $10,000 range, with an additional $5,000 to replace the building’s electricity. While Lewis initially believed the pens to be insured, she said they may not have been and that a search for decades-old paperwork is still in process.
Last weekend, WPX Energy and a Bolton roustabout crew set about cleaning up the damaged pens with help from community 4-H supporters and leaders. The pen, which was stripped of all but its metal piping, will get new wood framing, tin siding and a roof, with all labor donated by WPX and, Lewis hopes, some community help purchasing materials. The building crew hopes to fully enclose and perhaps even extend the pens in the next 30 days.
“All the help from the community and local businesses has been awesome, with people willing to donate their time and money for the kids,” Lewis said. “It’s been a stressful week, but we’re going to get through it with the help of WPX and this kind of community support.”
Donations for Rangely 4-H replacement and building efforts can be made to the 4-H Council Office at the Rio Blanco County Annex Building, to a fund set up at First National Bank of the Rockies or to donation jars set up in businesses around the area.
To find out more or learn how to help, contact Lewis at 970-878-9499.