The Upper Midwest continues to see massive casualties of livestock in barn fires, three weeks after we reported that such blazes killed more than 25,000 animals last year.
On Sunday night, 19,000 turkeys died at a barn owned by Jennie-O in Swanville in northwest Minnesota. Firefighters from Swanville, Grey Eagle and Flensburg rushed to the scene.
Swanville Fire Chief Jerry Hollermann said he was called to the scene around 9:30 Sunday night and fought the blaze along with about 40 other firefighters for six hours.
“The barn is standing, but it’s pretty extensive damage,” he said.
“They’re pretty small birds, so they were probably all gone when we got there,” said Hollermann. “Because just the smoke in the barn, the barns are pretty sealed up -- so when they have a fire in them, the smoke pretty well kills them right away.”
In December, 7,500 turkeys perished in a fire near Worthington; in October, 13,000 hogs died near Truman, Minn. Casualties were huge last winter and spring, when 300,000 hens perished in La Grange, Wis. and 150,000 hens died in a Galt, Iowa, fire.