Barn fire kills 1,300 pigs in eastern Ontario

A massive fire consumed a pig barn in Quinte West, Ont., Tuesday killed at least 1,300 animals.

Fire chief says crews could hear animals screeching as blaze destroyed barn

A firefighter works as pigs flee the burning barn in Quinte West, Ont. (Submitted by John Whelan)

A massive fire consumed a pig barn in Quinte West, Ont., Tuesday, killing at least 1,300 animals. 

The community's fire Chief John Whelan said they got the call around 1 p.m. and quickly called in resources from neighbouring communities to help battle the blaze. 

Quinte West is about 100 kilometres west of Kingston.

Whelan said firefighters did their best when they arrived to get the animals out.

"We did what we could, I had crews inside trying to get the sows and the piglets out," he said.

Firefighter Taylor Wardaugh rescues a piglet. (Submitted by John Whelan)

Whelan said about 100 animals were rescued from the blaze, but the structure became unsafe and he had to get firefighters out of harm's way and couldn't save any more animals.   

"It was hard to deal with; we heard a lot of the animals screeching and crying," he said.

"That's very tragic, because a lot of us are animal lovers."

He said there were 1,400 to 1,500 animals in the building.

Cause was accidental

The fire appears to have been accidental, involving an electrical short.

The Ontario Fire Marshal was being called to investigate, because of the scale of the fire.

The damage is estimated at more than $1 million, Whelan said. ​

He said no one was hurt and credited his firefighters for the rescues they did make and for preventing the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.

About the Author

Ryan Tumilty

Journalist

Ryan is an experienced journalist who was the managing editor of Metro Ottawa before coming to CBC. He has reported for over a decade in communities across Canada. Story tips should go to ryan.tumilty@cbc.ca