Garland, N.C. — The storms that pounded North Carolina on Monday appear to have started one of the worst hog farm fires in Sampson County history.
About 1,400 pigs died in the fire at Prestage Farms on Boykin Bridge Road north of Garland around 6:30 a.m. Monday. Approximately 180 of the pigs that perished were sows and the rest were piglets, according to production manager Mark Daughtry.
“It’s emotionally upsetting,” he said. “Any time you lose animals, particularly where there are sows with piglets, our goal is to raise them as healthy as we can, and then something tragic like this happens and it upsets everybody.”
The company, which has 250 hog houses in Sampson County and 125,000 sows in the state, blames a lightning strike for sparking the fire that destroyed the hog house.
“It was out of control, and the wind was blowing and it just made it worse,” Daughtry said. “It’s the worst fire I’ve seen in 25 years in the livestock industry.”
Company officials estimate a $500,000 loss. They plan to have a new barn installed in the next two months.
Approximately 10 fire departments responded to the blaze and were able to stop the flames from damaging two adjacent barns.
“They did an outstanding job responding to the call,” said Zack McCullen, vice president of swine operations for Prestage Farms.