It is a devastating loss for the Huyber family.
The farmers, on Confederation Line east of Wanstead, lost their entire herd of pigs – 4,000 in all – and their livestock barn in a fire Tuesday morning.
Plympton-Wyoming Fire Chief Steve Clemens says the family noticed flames coming from the building west of the house around 9 am and called 9-1-1. The Wyoming department was joined by firefighters from Watford and Brooke-Alvinston to try to knock down the blaze.
Clemens says an excavator was brought in to help. “It allows us to get into the fire area. It removes the tin and aluminum roof so we can get at the combustible materials and put them out,” he says.
Firefighters poured hundreds of gallons of water on the blaze but the livestock could not be saved.
Clemens says there were no other livestock buildings nearby, but firefighters were able to save the silos and feed bins that were also at risk of going up in flames.
By noon, the roof of the barn had collapsed.
Firefighters contained the blaze at about 3:30 pm according to Clemens and the road, which was blocked since 9 am, was reopened.
Firefighters were on the scene for several hours after that putting out hot spots.
Clemens says officials from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office have been called in to investigate because of the large loss of livestock. It’s not clear how long that will take. It’s likely the investigators will concentrate their search on the north-end of the building where flames were first seen.
Clemens says it wasn’t clear at press time what caused the fire but the electrical systems will be examined.
Clemens and the fire marshal say the the barn and the 4,000 pigs are valued at about $3 million. The family, he says, is fully insured but adds it will take some time for them to recover from the blaze.