By Connor Lynch
JARVIS — A barn fire that tore through a hog barn in southwestern Ontario, near the town of Jarvis in Haldimand County, destroyed 4,000 pigs and the barn, causing more than $4 million in damage.
The fire was investigated and is not believed to be suspicious, although officially, the cause is unknown, said Haldimand County fire chief Jason Gallagher.
A passerby called in the blaze at around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 29. Firefighters arrived to find the main barn fully engulfed by flames that were licking the attachment to a secondary barn. An aggressive attack by firefighters to keep the fire off the second barn was defeated by strong winds. The flames spread to the roof of the second barn, and “Once it got into there, we couldn’t stop it,” Gallagher said.
The barn was owned by Mike and Amy Cronin. The pair own and operate a number of hog farms in Western Ontario and three in the United States, one in Iowa, and two in Missouri. They’re based out of Bluewater, in Huron County, about 150 minutes northwest of Jarvis. Amy Cronin declined to comment when contacted by Farmers Forum.
The Cronins were named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers in 2015. Amy Cronin is the former chair of Ontario Pork. Both were raised on dairy farms and together bought into the pork industry in 1998.