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Matt Gillis, Deseret News
A firefighter sprays a hot spot following a fire that destroyed the livery stable at This Is the Place Heritage Park Saturday.

SALT LAKE CITY — An early morning fire destroyed the livery stable and killed more than a dozen animals at This Is the Place Heritage Park on Saturday.

The fire was reported at about 5 a.m., said park director Matt Dahl. The barn was the entrance to the park's petting zoo, and the 14 animals killed were all baby animals kept in the barn to protect them from the weather, Dahl said.

It took about 30 firefighters almost 40 minutes to put the fire out, said Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Scott Freitag.

Employees at the park were able to help fire crews control some of the animals so they didn't hinder firefighting efforts, he said.

"This building is one of, if not the most, popular buildings we have. This is a real tragedy," Dahl said.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, but they believe the heat lamps used to keep the animals warm may be at fault.

The animals killed included sheep, pigs, goats and peacocks.

Dahl said the barn and animals were an important part of the park's recent Baby Animal Days events.

The barn was built in 1996 as part of the park's centennial celebration, he said.

Plans to rebuild the barn are already under way.

A power surge was reported in the area Friday night, but investigators are not sure to what extent the fire and the power issues were related, Freitag said.

e-mail: jsmith@desnews.com