A hog barn at the Bentley Hutterite Colony was destroyed by fire early Monday morning.

Thousands of pigs killed in barn fire

About 4,500 pigs died when fire swept through a hog barn at the Bentley Hutterite Colony on Monday morning.

About 4,500 pigs died when fire swept through a hog barn at the Bentley Hutterite Colony on Monday morning.

Bentley Fire Chief Todd Gustafson said they got the call about 6:45 a.m. and when the first volunteer firefighters arrived heavy smoke was already billowing from one of two large hog barns located side by side at the farm site about five km southeast of Bentley.

“It was heavily involved. There were some flames showing on the north and east side of the building itself but there was certainly heavy smoke coming from all sides of the building,” Gustafson said.

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Eckville and Sylvan Lake fire departments arrived to help and about four dozen firefighters were on scene at peak.

Gustafson said it was apparent early on the barn was too badly damaged to save so the focus was on keeping flames from spreading.

“So we basically put all of our resources into saving the building on the south,” he said.

“Fortunately, we were able to save the south barn. I guess at the end of the day we did what we could to contain the fire and keep losses at a minimum.”

The fire was under control around 1 p.m. but was still smouldering more than an hour later as cleanup continued.

Some of the pigs in the north barn were moved out in time, but most succumbed to the smoke. Several thousand pigs in the south barn also survived thanks to firefighters’ efforts.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. A damage estimate was not yet available.

Colony resident Lela Hofer said the fire department arrived within five to 10 minutes of the call, but the fire had spread quickly.

“By the time the fire trucks were here it was too far gone already. They wouldn’t let nobody into the barn anymore or the office. The whole building was on fire already.”

Two dogs were rescued from the burning barn and a computer hard drive with all of the hog operation information was saved from an office area between the barns.

A new feeding system had just been installed in the barn, which was insured she said. Her husband, his brother and her two sons spent every day working in the barn, which was left a twisted mess of corrugated steel.

Residents from half a dozen other area Hutterite colonies immediately headed to the Bentley area to help when they heard of the disaster.

“There’s a bunch of ladies and girls here to help too in the kitchen to make snacks and whatever for all the guys here,” she said.

Hofer believes more than 5,000 hogs in the farrowing barn, which was full of piglets and sows, may have been lost.

“It’s very sad, but you can’t do nothing about it. Just take it as it is and we’ll have to rebuild it.”

No one in the colony or any of the firefighters were injured.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Driver who backed into Red Deer pizzeria sentenced

David Andrew Amstutz sentenced for failing to remain at the crash scene

Shaw getting ready to raise prices for its main residential service, CEO says

CALGARY — Residential customers of Shaw Communications Inc. will likely see a… Continue reading

Inflation accelerates as higher airfares, vegetable prices offset cheaper gas

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerated to two per cent last… Continue reading

Alberta couple wants cash and charges dropped in meningitis death of their son

CALGARY — An Alberta couple facing a second trial in the meningitis… Continue reading

Moose Jaw wants to challenge Norway for tallest moose statue title

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The City of Moose Jaw, Sask., is on… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Canadian tattoo artist inks Toronto skyline on Blue Jays pitcher Stroman

Marcus Stroman found a way to show his appreciation for Toronto when… Continue reading

Team World sweeps opening day against Team North America at Continental Cup

LAS VEGAS — Team North America has some serious ground to make… Continue reading

SXSW to screen ‘Run This Town,’ which includes Rob Ford character

TORONTO — A drama that features a portrayal of the late Toronto… Continue reading

Fans buy ‘Little House on the Prairie’ star’s memorabilia

GENOA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — More than 200 items belonging to “Little House… Continue reading

Paying down debt should be priority for low income workers, say experts

TORONTO — Investment planning can often be seen as a luxury for… Continue reading

Russian fighter jets collide over Sea of Japan crews eject

One plane crashed after its crew ejected safely, the other crew also ejected but they have not been found

Judge to deliver verdict in British sailor’s gang rape case

The alleged gang rape took place at a Halifax-area military base in 2015

B.C. minister fears money laundering involves billions of dollars, cites reports

The government had estimated that it was a $200-million a year operation, instead estimates now peg the problem at $1 billion annually

Most Read