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BEAVER COUNTY TIMES
Fire kills 69 birds
by Amanda King
BIG BEAVER -- John Nugent has been raising pigeons since 1959, but never lost so many at one time.
The Big Beaver resident had more than 80 birds, but a fire Thursday afternoon in the pigeon loft behind his home at 302 Friendship Road, killed all but 13 of them.
"I've raised pigeons longer than I've been married," Nugent said. "And we just celebrated our 50th anniversary on Saturday."
Big Beaver Fire Chief Adam Crepp said the cause of the fire is unknown.
"We are assuming it was something electrical in the barn," Crepp said.
When crews arrived, they attacked the flames from the back of the loft and then moved inside and were able to extinguish the flames in a matter of minutes, Crepp said.
"When it first came in, we thought it was going to be a barn with larger animals, but luckily it was a relatively small building," Crepp said.
Nugent said he spent about $6,000 on the loft and pigeons in the 1970s. Nugent raised 26 older pigeons and 56 young ones.
"Yesterday was the first day they were let out to even fly (this year)," Nugent said.
Nugent said his wife looked outside their window and saw the fire.
"There's an exhaust fan at each end of the loft that is thermostat controlled," Nugent said. "Whether something went haywire with that, I don't know."
According to Crepp, an investigation is under way but it could take days to find a cause.
Besides the Big Beaver department, fire crews from Beaver Falls and Chippewa Township were called to the scene.