Hog fire in Bigelow
BIGELOW -- Hundreds of pigs were reportedly killed early Wednesday morning and two buildings destroyed in a hog confinement fire in rural Bigelow.
The Ocheyedan, Iowa, Fire Department and Sibley, Iowa, Fire Department were both notified of the fire at approximately 5:04 a.m. Wednesday at property located at 5630 140th St., between Red Wing and Redwood avenues.
Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls said Wednesday afternoon the hog confinement property is owned by NNIK Pork.
"Basically, it was a sow unit -- a farrowing house and a nursery," Huls said. "There are two large buildings connected by a tunnel, and the buildings run north and south.
"The east long building -- the farrowing house ---- there was probably 100 percent loss of livestock in there," Huls added. "The other building was a total loss, but they were able to save about 60 percent of the livestock. ... As far the head count of livestock lost, I'd say it's in the hundreds."
Paul Hohensee, chief of the Bigelow Fire Department, said Wednesday afternoon that approximately 500 head of hogs were able to be saved while batting the blaze. His department had been dispatched for mutual aid at about 5:15 a.m.
"The fire had a very large head start on everybody," said Hohensee, who said he and others were at the scene until about 2 p.m. -- in part ensuring that demolition activities didn't spark new blazes.
Fire departments from Ashton and Little Rock, Iowa, were also paged for assistance.
Huls said that co-owner Scott Nasers had "probably arrived" right around the time of the initial firefighters' arrival. Huls said Nasers speculated the fire could have started in a building in which they were a lot of heat lamps as well as small pigs, and that the fire could well be electrical in origin.
"Officially, the cause is undetermined right now," Huls said.
NNIK (Nasers Nasers Iedema Kohn) Pork is named for the four children -- two sons and two daughters -- of Bob Nasers who co-own the business, Bob Nasers said. The elder Nasers learned of the blaze early Wednesday morning.
"The sheriff knocked the door just about 5 and said, 'Your hoghouse is on fire,' Nasers said. "He said he had notified the fire department.
"I just looked out the kitchen window, and I could see the flames coming up over the gestation barn. It was the east building ... where the fire had started."
Nasers said he believed the facility had been constructed sometime between the late 1990s and early 2000s.
"It had 550 farrowing crates in there, and they were all full," he said. "They saved 600 or 700 out of the gestation barn, but in the farrowing house and nursery ... I think they all burned."
Nasers said he hadn't had time to visit with his children to learn whether they planned to rebuild. One immediate focus will be selling some of the hogs.
"They have to sell all the pregnant animals; they don't have any place to farrow them now," he said.
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