The community of Truman, Minnesota is mourning the destruction of one of the region’s most notable businesses, after a massive fire ravaged Cougar Run Farm.
The farm, which is located in the southern part of the state, is about four miles east of the town of Truman, and is owned by Pipestone System, which controls and monitors farm operations across Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Farm operations primarily focus on hog breeding, and unfortunately, the animals were the victims of this deadly barn fire.
The four Cougar Run employees on duty were safe from harm, but a local CBS station states that about 50% of the farm was destroyed, including an estimated 4,000 sows and 6,000 to 7,000 piglets. Pipestone System CEO Luke Minion states that about 1,300 sows were saved, but that it will take months, and millions of dollars, to rebuild the farm. Three buildings (out of five) were hit by the flames, and it’s unknown how much equipment was ruined as well.
The fire reportedly started around 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 25, and the Truman Fire Department was assisted by nine other fire response teams, as well as four additional emergency response teams, until the fire was under control (which didn’t happen until about 10 p.m. that evening).
Although the cause of the fire still remains unknown, law enforcement officials have stated that the incident doesn’t seem to have been started due to “anything suspicious.”
Nevertheless, this particular fire is just one in a string of barn fires that have recently struck multiple states across the country. Connecticut fire departments battled three fires in three days, including one barn fire. Four fires, occurring within three days of each other, have damaged farms across Pennsylvania; one of these fires led to the deaths of approximately 20,000 baby chicks, all about five weeks old.
Although the transition into cooler winter weather is often accompanied by house fires (largely due to malfunctioning heating systems), these barn fires are making farmers across the country a bit uneasy. Many modern farms know to take precautions when it comes to keeping their animals and equipment safe — keeping flammable items safely stored, having easy exit routes through which animals can herded out, and building barns with high-quality materials (like the reinforced doors and heavy-duty trim used in traditional Amish barns) are all easy ways to ensure that a farm’s livelihood stays safe.
Even if all of these fires happen to be weird coincidences and were not caused by “anything suspicious,” they are still a wake-up call for farmers who haven’t given much attention to the safety and security of their farms. Even if the buildings can be rebuilt, the lives of thousands of animals can never be replaced.