Fire claims hog barn; Hundreds of pigs perish, cause of blaze unknown

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Geneva firefighters arrive on the scene of a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon.  -- Photos by Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Geneva firefighters arrive on the scene of a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon. — Photos by Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

NEWRY TOWNSHIP — Hundreds of hogs perished in a fire at a rendering barn in Freeborn County’s Newry Township Monday morning.

The cause of the fire, at 89529 290th St., is unknown at this time, according to Glen Strom, chief deputy with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office. The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate.

Strom said owner Dennis Magnuson had 6,000 hogs at the site in three barns, which are located about 12 miles northwest of Austin and a few miles west of the Freeborn-Mower Road. Only one barn caught fire, and it was a total loss.

A firefighter walks toward a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon.

A firefighter walks toward a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon.

Though the total number of hogs that died has not been finalized, Strom estimated hundreds — if not even a thousand — died.

“It’s a large number of hogs,” he said.

The owner and employees saw flames coming from the building and reported it to authorities at 11:31 a.m. The fire spread to the entire barn, and at one point the barn was fully engulfed.

Strom said the owner and employees were able to save some hogs and others escaped. He did not have an estimate on how many were rescued.

Fire departments from Blooming Prairie, Geneva, Hollandale, Austin, Austin Township, Hartland, Ellendale and Brownsdale responded.

He said the fire was under control about two hours later.