by Patty Cheffey
A lightening strike during last Wednesday’s storm resulted in a fire that destroyed a hog confinement facility belonging to Roger Sutter in the West Quincy area.
Lightening struck a transformer poll next to the office area of the hog barn, taking out the electrical system.
“So the alarms didn’t go off to warn me something was wrong,” said Sutter, adding the fire started in the office, then spread to the hog confinement area.
“A deputy sheriff noticed the fire around 11 p.m. and called in to dispatch and they notified me,” he added, noting the fire probably started around 6 p.m.
Around 4,500 hogs where in the barn at the time of the fire and Sutter estimated he lost between 20 and 30 hogs.
“Pretty amazing considering,” he said.
Palmyra, LaGrange, Tri-Township (Quincy), Quincy and Canton fire departments all responded to the fire, although Canton’s ladder truck ended up not being used, Sutter added.
The fire trucks left around 5 a.m., Thursday, but had to be called back twice for flare-ups.
While the fire departments were fighting the fire, the hogs actually remained in the barn.
“We had a water truck that kept water on the pigs, and we had ideal weather since it was cool and rainy,” Sutter said.
The hogs were completely moved out by around 11 p.m. Thursday, except for the ones that perished in the fire.
“We still have to remove the dead hogs, but they are in an area of the building which is not safe at this point,” he said.
Sutter estimated the loss at around $1 million based on the cost of building materials currently.
“Some of those have doubled or tripled recently,” he said.
Plans are to remove the debris as quickly as possible, and since the foundation is sound to rebuild on the same site.