Olive Township barn fire kills 280 pigs

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 10:53 AM

Hirdes sent out a call for additional help and ended up with personnel and equipment from eight area fire departments on the scene.

The section of 120th Avenue between Blair and Tyler was also closed to traffic until Olive Township firefighters cleared the scene at 12:18 this morning, Hirdes said.

Due to the extent of the fire, fire fighters could not save either the pigs or the barn, the chief said. Their initial effort was concentrated on protecting two nearby buildings, and keeping the fire away from a large propane tank located directly behind the blazing barn.

Hirdes said the pigs belonged to Ben Kamps who was renting the space from the property owner, Cal Weener. The pigs were ready to go to market and would have been shipped out in the next day or two, the chief said. The value of the pigs was set at $48,000.

There was no damage estimate for the barn as of press time this morning, Hirdes said.

Preliminary investigation indicates an electrical fire started in the northwest corner where the electrical service enters the barn, Hirdes said. But the cause is still under investigation

Assisting at the scene were fire fighters from Blendon and Robinson townships. Port Sheldon, Allendale, Holland and Zeeland townships provided tankers, while a light truck came from Zeeland, Hirdes said. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department provided traffic control.

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