Hundreds of Pigs Killed in Barn Fire
SOUTHAMPTON, N.J. - November 19, 2007 -- A fire at one of New Jersey's few hog farms has killed nearly 1,000 pigs that were destined for eventual auction and slaughter.
Veterinarians on Tuesday were evaluating the health of the surviving swine as fire inspectors tried to make their way through debris to figure out what started the fire at Pig Farm Recycling Inc.
Demolition crews were also on the farm to clear debris.
The fire was reported about 8 p.m. Monday and was not extinguished until around 3 a.m., said Burlington County Fire Marshal Bob Rose.
Flames burned three barns that had wood frames and metal roofs and siding. "With the metal, it acts like an oven," Rose said.
Two of the barns contained hogs, said Lynne Richmond, a spokeswoman for the state Agriculture Department. All 900 hogs in one barn were killed. They weighed between 100 and 200 pounds each, Richmond said - short of the regular slaughtering weight of around 250 pounds.
In the second barn, about 50 60-pound feeder hogs were killed or had to be euthanized.
The burning barns were about three-fourths of a mile from a rural road. Several mostly volunteer fire departments trucked in tankers of water, which were pumped from the main road to the fire.
The farm, not far from the huge Leisuretown retirement village, is one of the bigger ones in a state not known for producing hogs.
State Police said there were a total of about 1,700 hogs on the farm.
According to federal statistics, there were about 7,000 hogs on New Jersey farms as of Dec. 1, 2006.
In other parts of the country, individual farms have more hogs than that. And most hogs raised in the United States are on farms with at least 5,000 head.
A nasty hog farm fire in Minnesota last year killed some 3,300 piglets and sows.
At the Southampton blaze, there was no word on a cause on Tuesday.
"We're going to be here for a while," Rose said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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