A fire early this morning in northeast Iowa destroyed a barn and killed 28 calves and two dogs. Gilbertville Fire Chief Bob Demuth says his department was the first agency on the scene shortly after midnight. “It was fully involved when we got there, the roof was actually down already,” Demuth said.

A passerby spotted the flames coming from the large barn at Foulk Farms in rural Washburn in Black Hawk County. Demuth said neighbors tried to rescue the animals before firefighters arrived. “They got some of the larger (livestock) out,” Demuth said. “They attempted to get (the calves) out, but it went up real fast.”

The barn contained hay bales which made the fire difficult to extinguish. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. “We’re still looking into that…we don’t want to make a definite decision right now,” Demuth said. He did note the fire is not considered “suspicious.”

Roughly 30 firefighters from Gilbertville, La Porte City and Hudson were on the scene until 5:30 a.m.