A Penn High School senior is cleaning up after a devastating fire in eastern St. Joseph County.
Trevor Sierzputowski says he lost around 170 rabbits when his barn caught fire.
He shows rabbits competitively and had a few big competitions coming up in the next few weeks.
Sierzputowski has been raising and showing the rabbits for around a decade. Now, he and his parents are trying to pick up the pieces.
“I spend a lot, a lot of hours out here working with my animals and stuff like that. they’re a huge project for me,” he said.
Sierzputowski works at Kryder Veterinary Clinic. That’s where he was when he got a call about a fire at home.
“I immediately just left and came home and found my barn surrounded in smoke and people,” Sierzputowski said.
He says he lost around 175 of his 200 show rabbits — including babies.
“I had a lot of really good prospects coming up that I was super excited about and unfortunately it looks like I’ve lost a lot of those,” he said.
Sierzputowski says he wants to go to Purdue for veterinary school.
“The rabbits have given me an opportunity of some knowledge and then working at the vet clinic has helped me even more,” he said.
“It’s just one part of the process for him to become a veterinarian,” said Trevor’s mom, Shelly Sierzputowski.
She says even though her home and family is fine the loss is still a blow.
“This is something he’s worked hard on for 10,12 years. This is not a one rabbit, or one pet barn or anything like that. This is a lifestyle,” she said.
But Shelly says she and Trevor have made a lot of friends in the rabbit showing world in all that time.
“They’re going to step up and a lot of people really love Trevor and they’re really going to help him out and I’m sure the state will help out with the substitution of rabbits and things like that. I really expect an outpouring of people and help and things like that,” she said.
Shelly says this is probably the hardest thing her son has ever had to deal with. But he’ll still be able to participate in a few competitions this Fall.
Sierzputowski says this loss hurts but it won’t stop him from pursuing his dreams.