An early morning fire at a hog confinement operation in western Iowa’s Audubon County has left an as many as a thousand pigs dead and one building destroyed.
An automatic fire alarm sounded at the Natural Pork Production Two facility two-miles west of Brayton just before three o’clock Sunday morning. Fire crews from nine communities including five from two neighboring counties were called-in to help bring the blaze under control. They fought the flames for about four and a-half hours before mop-up activities could begin.
Kevin Baskins, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says while the exact number of pigs killed was not known, it’s estimated the wood framed and metal confinement building may have housed more than one-thousand total pigs, including sows and baby pigs. Baskins says there’s no apparent threat to the environment as the as result of the fire, because manure from the confinement building was contained in storage pits beneath the structure. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshall’s office.
The Brayton facility is part of a farrow-to-ween operation. Built in 2002 by Harlan farmer Gary Weihs, the production facility is one of five located in Iowa that houses up to five-thousand sows.