A large fire at a hog confinement facility in northeast Iowa near Winthrop has left some 4,800 animals dead. The state fire marshal is being called in to help local officials investigate the blaze. The fire at Eagle Ridge L.L.C. in Buchanan County destroyed two buildings, killing about 3,000 piglets and 1,800 sows.

About half of the confinement’s animals were saved. Officials say the fire started in the west confinement around 8:30 Wednesday night, then spread to the second building. Crews contained the fire to the two buildings. Investigators are hoping to determine the cause.

By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein