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This article was published 26/3/2015 (2658 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BRANDON -- About 1,500 hogs are dead after a fire razed a barn near Kola Tuesday night.
Wallace Fire Department Chief Brad Yochim said an employee who was alerted to the fire by an alarm system at the barn called 911 around 10 p.m.
"I was first on scene and when I got there, the barn was basically fully involved in fire," said Yochim, adding that weather and road conditions resulted in a 30-minute response time.
The fire started in the northwest corner of the building and with the wind conditions — which measured between 35 to 48 km/h from 10 p.m. until midnight at Virden, according to the Weather Network — there was no chance of saving anything.
Kola is 32 kilometres west of Virden, near the Saskatchewan border.
"If you can imagine that many pigs in a concealed space basically trapped and on fire, the sounds are pretty bad. Squealing pigs — it’s not nice," Yochim said.
The Office of the Fire Commissioner is investigating the blaze, but the cause is not yet known. Arson is not suspected, RCMP reported Thursday.
Yochim estimates the building was 200 metres by 33 metres and firefighters from Elkhorn, Virden and Maryfield were called in to battle the fire. Some were still on scene Wednesday, dousing hot spots hidden in the twisted and charred mess of the destroyed barn.
Claude Vielfaure, executive vice-president of HyLife Foods, confirmed the barn belonged to HyLife.
The barn is estimated to be 20 years old and housed sows, which give birth to piglets that eventually end up at market.
"This is extremely rare," Vielfaure said. "We’re sad that some animals perished in the fire, but as a company we do everything we can to make sure these barns are as fire-safe as possible and it’s unfortunate that this happened."
-- Brandon Sun