Hogs perish in rendering barn fire

Published 1:40 pm Monday, December 15, 2014

Firefighters drive down the driveway of 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon. Several departments responded to a fire at a hog barn after 11:30 a.m. — Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune

Firefighters drive down the driveway of 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon. Several departments responded to a fire at a hog barn after 11:30 a.m. — Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune

Pigs lost could be more than 1,000

NEWRY TOWNSHIP — Hundreds of hogs perished in a fire at a rendering barn in 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.

A firefighter walks toward a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon. Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune

A firefighter walks toward a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon. Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune

Owner Dennis Magnuson had 6,000 hogs at the site in three barns. Strom said only one barn caught fire, and it was a total loss.

Though the total number of hogs that died has not been determined, 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.

Firefighters respond to a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon. — Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune

Firefighters respond to a hog barn fire at 85295 290th Street in rural Freeborn County Monday afternoon. — Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune

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.

The barn was a few miles west of the Freeborn-Mower Road.