All that’s left is ruins and the smell of ash after a barn fire in Olymel’s finishing barn this weekend killed about 10,000 hogs. The facility is located in Sturgis, about an hour north of Yorktown, Saskatchewan.
According to multiple news reports, when staff spotted the fire, they immediately exited the building and called 9-1-1. However, the size of the facility, which houses pigs of various sizes being fed for market, and the rate at which the fire spread meant that the barn ended up entirely destroyed.
A spokesperson for the company indicated to CTV News that no workers were injured as a result of the incident. A second barn located about a half kilometer away was not damaged.
This is all that remains of a hog barn finishing unit near Sturgis after a Sunday blaze
You can’t see any of the hogs, but 10,000 we’re killed in the fire
Olymel runs the operation, and says there are no plans yet to rebuild. The cause of the fire is still under investigation pic.twitter.com/p7C5FTYnbx
— Brady Lang (@BradyLangCTV) February 15, 2023
Brad Secundiak, fire chief of the Sturgis & District Fire Co-Operative, told CTV News that when crews responded the smoke was too thick to get access to the barns. It took around 30 minutes until crews were able to access the scene.
“We decided it was no hope and just to let it burn itself out,” he said.
“For sure, it was hard to watch it burn. They’re animals, it’s no different than a human being. You want to try and save a life no matter what type of life it is. It was difficult, but to risk human life over that was a choice I had to make.”
Fire officials and insurance inspectors were reportedly on site Monday assessing the damage. The building named Kopje Finishing Unit was a complete loss. Although a point of origin may have been located, there has not been a cause listed for the blaze yet.
According to their website, Olymel employs about 15,000 individuals and owns 35 production facilities with a capacity to produce 1.2 million hogs annually.