By Connor Lynch
QUINTE WEST — A devastating hog barn fire last month destroyed about 1,200 hogs and caused more than $1 million in damage.
It was a fight from the start to get the fire under control and to get as many hogs as possible out of the barn, said Quinte West fire chief John Whelan. A team of three firefighters were hauling animals out of the barn for 45 minutes before the situation got too dangerous. Firefighters managed to save 100 hogs from a steel-roofed section of the barn the day of the fire and saved another 60 the next day.
Arriving just after 1 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the Hastings County farm, 20 minutes northwest of Belleville, some 40 firefighters and multiple water tankers were on the scene for eight hours to keep the blaze from leaping to other barns.
Returning the next day to extinguish hotspots, the firefighters found they’d controlled the flames well enough that another 60 hogs were still alive in the steel-roofed area. A section of barn had partially collapsed and firefighters brought in a high hoe to remove the debris and get the animals out.
Whelan said that farmer Greg Barr, who owns the farm, told him the cause of the fire was likely a malfunctioning incubator for weaner pigs. Whelan said that so far as he was aware, both the hogs and barn were insured.
Barr told Global News that he was at the farm when the fire broke out, but was “running around, standing in the laneway, doing things to keep people safe.”
Barr did not reply to calls from Farmers Forum by press time.