Minnesota barn fire kills an estimated 12,000 pigs

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) — A hog barn fire killed an estimated 12,000 pigs Sunday night, according to the Waseca Police Department.

Fire Chief Jason Forshee says crews were dispatched to Woodville Pork around 10:30 p.m. Sunday after two large buildings erupted with flames.

“Upon arrival, we had a building that was mostly engulfed. We ended up paging out a total of, we had nine departments on scene,” Forshee said.

Those nine departments supplied more than 20 tankers to combat the blaze. Crews were able to spare a third nearby building using a fire break.

Forshee stated, “Our estimates on numbers right now is an estimate that 9,000 piglets were lost and 3,000 sows for a total of 12,000.”

Firefighters remained on scene extinguishing the flames and hot spots until 2 p.m. Monday. The fire’s cause is still undetermined, but local farming experts say the lack of rain and high winds are a major contributor to farm facility fires.

“Really dry conditions causes us to have concern, extra need for safety. I think we’re seeing some emergence of challenges because of the lack of moisture, and within livestock facilities, dryer conditions just simply create an atmosphere which can be more prone to some of the challenges that we’re hearing about,” mentioned Brad Schloesser, Dean of Agriculture at South Central College and Director of the Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence.

Chief Forshee says more information on what caused the fire should be available in the coming days. As of now, the barns’ remains are still extremely hot.

“It might need to cool for a day or two,” Forshee added.

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