Barn Fire Kills 12,000 Pigs, Including 9,000 Piglets

A fire at a hog barn in Waseca, southern Minnesota, has killed 12,000 pigs, including 9,000 piglets, according to the Waseca Police Department. No people were injured in the incident.

Fire chief Jason Forshee from the Waseca Fire Department said: "Our estimates on numbers right now is an estimate that 9,000 piglets were lost and 3,000 sows [mother pigs] for a total of 12,000."

Fire crew were deployed to Woodville Pork around 10:30 p.m. Sunday after two of the facility's buildings erupted with flames, according to Forshee.

The crew were able to save its third building nearby using a fire break, saving the 3,000 pigs that were housed in that building, Minnesota's KARE reported.

The fire chief said: "Upon arrival, we had a building that was mostly engulfed. We ended up paging out a total of, we had nine departments on scene."

More than 20 tankers were supplied by the nine departments to combat the blaze. No injuries were reported among fire crew as well as farm staff.

The scene was cleared by 10:30 a.m. local time Monday. The Minnesota state fire marshal was reported to be at the scene, Forshee said.

The barn remains extremely hot and "might need to cool for a day or two," Forshee added.

Speaking to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the state fire marshal said: "The cause of that fire is still under investigation. I do not have any updates."

Anita Nelson, who lives near Woodville Pork, told CBS Minnesota: "All of the sudden I saw the fire trucks come by turning down the neighbor's road. I looked up and saw the glow in the sky and I thought, oh boy.

"That's a lot. That's terrible. They've been here a long time," she added.

The family who owns the barn, who own another hog farm nearby, are planning to rebuild the facility, CBS Minnesota reported.

"They are big hog farmers. It's a tragic loss," said Nelson.

According to local farming experts, the lack of rain and high winds in the area are significant contributing factors to farm fires.

Brad Schloesser, dean of Agriculture at South Central College and director of the Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence, told Minnesota's KEYC: "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."

"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," he added.

Newsweek has contacted the Waseca Police Department and Fire Department for comment.

Hogs on an Iowa farm in 2018
Hogs seen on a farm near Osage, Iowa in July 2018. A barn fire in Minnesota on Sunday killed 12,000 pigs, including 9,000 piglets. Scott Olson/Getty Images