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Hutterite colony looks to rebuild after hog barn burns

Bentley Hutterite Colony faced the sombre task of cleaning up on Tuesday after a devastating hog barn fire killed thousands of animals.

Bentley Hutterite Colony faced the sombre task of cleaning up on Tuesday after a devastating hog barn fire killed thousands of animals.

The loss of one of two huge barns and about 4,500 pigs will be a major financial blow to the colony, which is based on a farm just a few kilometres southeast of Bentley.

“That was our bread and water. We’re going to have to rebuild again,” said Martha Hofer.

“It was kind of our biggest income. It was a shocker.”

On Tuesday, they faced the grim job of removing the carcasses and hauling them away for disposal.

The hog operation and the large 80,000-square-foot metal-clad barn were insured and adjusters were expected to be on scene on Tuesday.

Despite the carnage, there was much to be thankful for, say colony members.

“As long as it wasn’t somebody’s life, that’s what we can be thankful for, that everybody is OK,” said Hofer.

“You can always rebuild but you can’t bring back a person’s life.”

News of the fire spread quickly and half a dozen other Hutterite colonies arrived on Monday to offer what aid they could.

“Those other colonies were very helpful,” she said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, said Bentley Fire Chief Todd Gustafson.

Investigators from the fire commissioner’s office and insurers sifted through the debris on Tuesday.

But they were awaiting an electrical specialist, who is expected to come out today, to narrow down a cause.

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