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Hoop barn fire deemed suspicious

ARMOUR, S.D. -- A fire that led to the loss of a hoop barn Thursday morning near Armour is being deemed "suspicious." The barn is owned by Doug Luebke, who also owns an under-construction hog barn that was vandalized on Wednesday. "There might ju...

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The Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded to a hoop barn fire 4 miles south of Highway 44 and 395th Avenue on at about 2:20 a.m. Thursday near Armour. (Photo courtesy of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office)

ARMOUR, S.D. - A fire that led to the loss of a hoop barn Thursday morning near Armour is being deemed “suspicious.”

The barn is owned by Doug Luebke, who also owns an under-construction hog barn that was vandalized on Wednesday.

 “There might just be somebody that doesn’t like hog barns,” Luebke told The Daily Republic on Thursday evening. “I don’t know why that would be, some people don’t like them. I just can’t figure out how anybody can be that stupid.”

According to Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Brandon Wingert, the Douglas County Sheriff's Department responded to the fire at about 2:20 a.m. The barn housed 350 1,000-pound square hay bales and farm equipment. The building is located about 4 miles south of the Highway 44 and 395th Avenue intersection in Armour. Wingert said the sheriff’s department and the Armour Fire Department were on scene until about noon.

The hoop barn, which is a building with metal framework with a tarp covering it, is a complete loss and two tractors inside of the building received minor damage. Luebke estimated the damage in the fire at about $50,000 to $70,000.

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Luebke believes somebody intentionally caused the fire.

“There’s no other real rational reason why things start burning,” Luebke said. “I haven’t talked to the investigators to know what they think, but it would appear that it was intentionally set.”

The cause of the fire is unknown, but Wingert said it is considered suspicious and is under investigation.

The Department of Criminal Investigations, State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is assisting in the investigation.

Luebke, of Corsica, also owns a hog facility located about a half-mile to the east of the hoop barn that was vandalized earlier this week. According to authorities, someone used a tractor that was pulling a tile plow to drive down the center of a recently poured concrete floor of the hog barn. The tractor used was sitting in a nearby field when the vandal stole it and drove through the concrete.

Ethan Co-Op Lumber is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the vandalism to the hog barn, according to a Facebook post made on Wednesday.

Luebke said the concrete was being re-poured on Thursday, but was unsure how much it will cost to repair the damage. He estimated it to be about $25,000.

Whether the two incidents are related is under investigation, Wingert said.

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Wingert encourages anybody with information to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Luebke said the events this week have not deterred his desire to run a hog facility and said the most important thing is that nobody was hurt.

“There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said. “They’re certainly not going to stop me from what I want to do have a legal right to do. I’ll just keep on farming and feeding people. That’s what I do.”

 

Related Topics: SOUTH DAKOTA
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