Local News

1,400 pigs perish in Sampson County farm fire

Posted March 30, 2010

— 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.

1,400 pigs perish in Sampson farm fire 1,400 pigs perish in Sampson farm fire

“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.


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  • deton8tor Apr 1, 2010

    Wild boar can be extremely dangerous but domestic swine not so much. It doesn't matter if they have a soul or not they still feel pain and it's a shame that any creature have to suffer needlessly through no fault of their own.....unlike some people who may actually deserve it.

  • FromClayton Apr 1, 2010

    deathrow- thats not the point. the point is creatures died in a horrible way and that is sad. it's true that if 1400 people died in a fire i would be sadder, but i can still be sad 1400 piggies died before their time and in such a cruel mannor.

    poor piggies... just makes me sad that they were scared in their last few minutes.

  • UNC PH.d Mar 31, 2010

    I think Deathrow just sits in his trailer in Johnston County and trolls among the WRAL bulletin boards all day, with Nascar blaring on the TV and a dip spit cup in his lap. Might be time to finish high school....

  • UNC PH.d Mar 31, 2010

    Come on Deathrow, animals DO HAVE A SOUL. In fact, I'd choose to save my animals in a fire over some people I know. Many of our "fellow Man" as you call them I'd place lower on the priority chain than many animals. It's sad how advanced & smart people are, yet there is so much idiocy and stupidity among people. Animals don't know any better, but they do have a Soul. In fact they say pigs are just as intelligent as chimps and dolphins, and certainly smarter than the average IQ of an NC country boy native.

  • its about time Mar 31, 2010

    They are on this earth for one purpose only.... for human edification. And they taste LOVELY! 1400 die in a fire? That's a serious Pig Pickin'.-Deathrow

    I could tell by your previous rantings that you are not very well read, but this one takes the cake

    edification-to instruct, especially to encourage moral or spritural improvement
    Geez..you might want to burn that GED

  • hollylama Mar 31, 2010

    1400 less pigs for Smithfield's to slaughter. Watch FOod Inc. It'll give you a different perspective about rearing animals.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Mar 31, 2010

    Come on, people! You don't show this much heart for your fellow man. Quite simply, these were animals. They do NOT have a soul. They are on this earth for one purpose only.... for human edification. And they taste LOVELY! 1400 die in a fire? That's a serious Pig Pickin'.

  • FromClayton Mar 31, 2010

    this makes me so sad. poor piggies.

  • FromClayton Mar 31, 2010

    They'll attack & eat you in a heart beat.
    The Fox

    Please dont do your animal research by watching Silence of the Lambs.

    If you are nice to the piggies, they will be nice to you.

  • agadvocate Mar 31, 2010

    I have worked with hogs for several years. I can honestly say I have never been "attacked" by a sow or boar. I openly work with them in pens with nothing between the animal and I and feel very comfortable doing so. They are very intelligent animals that when given respect and treated humanely; they will give that in return. If you have any further questions or comments please let me know.