Thousands of hogs lost in P.E.I. barn fire

D & E Pork is one of the largest hog producers on the Island, according to the P.E.I. Hog Marketing Board.  (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC News - image credit)
D & E Pork is one of the largest hog producers on the Island, according to the P.E.I. Hog Marketing Board. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC News - image credit)

Investigators are continuing to sift through the debris after a barn fire killed thousands of hogs in Albany, P.E.I., Wednesday night.

The call came in to the Borden-Carleton fire department from D & E Pork at about 5:45 p.m. Around 50 firefighters from four fire departments responded.

"Even when I got to the fire hall I could see the flames," said Borden-Carleton fire Chief Shawn Jessome. "When we arrived on scene part of the building was fully involved in the fire."

Firefighters told CBC News two of the buildings at the back of the farm were destroyed — none of the animals inside could be saved.

A third building was also damaged.

Shane Hennessey/CBC News
Shane Hennessey/CBC News

"They weren't able to get them [out]. It spread too quick on that part of the building," he said. "It was a matter of minutes and that barn was up fully engulfed."

No people were injured, according to RCMP.

'Tremendous tragedy'

The chair of the P.E.I. Hog Marketing Board said there is an active population of hog producers on the Island, and D & E Pork is one of the largest.

The farm has several barns and buildings along the Murray Road.

"He's been an integral part of the P.E.I. industry for a long time," said board chair Scott Dingwell. "It's a tremendous tragedy for anyone."

Shane Hennessey/CBC News
Shane Hennessey/CBC News

"This is one time that you know we like to respect the wishes of the family and give them the time they need," said MLA Jamie Fox, a close friend of Dale Murray who operates D & E Pork.

Fox said he was with the hog farmer when they got the news that Murray's barns were on fire with thousands of pigs inside.

"This is tough," said Fox.

"Farming is tough, right. Industry is tough in today's climate and this is the part of the world that we live in that we have to be prepared to help our neighbours."

'Just the Island way'

As news of the fire spread, Fox and Dingwell both said people did reach out to the family to offer support.

"That's just the Island way and as the MLA it's hard it's hard to see devastation in your district and you want to be there for them," said Fox.

"It's just the way we are and that's what makes P.E.I. so special."

The P.E.I. Hog Marketing Board is also putting together an emergency response committee to help.

Dingwell said the board's thoughts are with the family "because of the stress and the anguish that this type of tragedy brings."

Fire marshal investigating

Firefighters were on the scene until 3 a.m., and then called back for a flare-up at 4:30 a.m.

The owners of the family business told CBC News they were not yet ready to talk, and asked for privacy.

Shane Hennessey/CBC News
Shane Hennessey/CBC News

There is no information yet on how the fire started. The provincial fire marshal is investigating.

"I think at this stage, given the extent of the damage, it may be sometime before determinations can be made," said RCMP Const. Gavin Moore.

"There are no indicators of anything suspicious thus far."