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Thousands of pigs killed in fire

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Thousands of pigs killed in fire
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

HARDWICK, Minn. – A fire at a southwest Minnesota hog farm Sunday killed about 3,700 sows and many piglets.

Fire departments from eight different counties responded to a fire at New Horizon Farms near Hardwick in Rock County at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

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The facility represents about 20 percent of hog production for New Horizon.

“It appears to be a total loss,” Bob Taubert, managing partner of New Horizon, said Monday.

Firefighters struggled to fight the fire due to the extremely cold temperatures and high winds.

No injuries were reported. A cause had not been determined Monday.

The Hardwick Fire Department was one of the first to respond to the scene.

“When I got on the scene our crew was already shooting water on the west side of the building,” explained Aaron Altman, assistant chief with the department. “Then we heard there was a propane tank at the east of the building, but the building was so wide by the time we got there, the smoke was so thick and black that we couldn’t pinpoint where the tank was. So we decided to get out of there before anyone got hurt.”

In all, eight fire departments responded: Edgerton, Hardwick, Jasper, Luverne, Beaver Creek, Hills and Pipestone, as well as Garretson, S.D.  

“We had some pumps and hoses freeze up, which made things extremely difficult,” Altman said. “We even had guys rotating in and out of the truck just to warm up.”

The Hardwick Fire Department did not leave the scene until 2 a.m., and some crews didn’t leave until 4 a.m., added Altman.

“We are thankful no one was on site when the fire started and no one was hurt during the fire,” Taubert said.  

“We will definitely rebuild just as soon as we can,” Taubert said.

Ten employees worked at the farm, and New Horizon is working to reassign them during the rebuilding process.  

“I want to thank the fire departments for their good work,” Taubert said. “It was just an impossible night, and we appreciate their efforts to fight the fire.”

New Horizon is working closely with authorities and its insurance company to determine the cause, as well as to clean up the site.  

Hardwick is about 10 miles north of Luverne.

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Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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