A fire last weekend that killed hundreds of pigs at a Sioux County, Iowa, confinement operation appears unrelated to an incident a few days before that killed hundreds of hogs, according to authorities. “You never want to say never, but at this point they don't appear to be related,” said Sioux County Deputy Sheriff Nate Huizenga. The fire was reported around 9:50 p.m. Saturday four miles southeast of Rock Valley, which is about 155 miles north of Omaha. Firefighters found the confinement building fully engulfed when they arrived. About 650 30-pound pigs were killed. “Basically, at this point it looks like it was a fire started by a malfunction somewhere in the building,” Huizenga said Monday. Earlier last week, about 475 hogs died at a different confinement operation five miles south of Rock Valley. In that case, the climate control system was tampered with between 3 p.m. Dec. 18 and 1 p.m. Dec. 19. “Somebody came in and manipulated the system so the confinement couldn't cool properly,” Huizenga said. “That resulted in the hogs dying because it gets too warm.” The hogs each weighed about 280 pounds. There have been no arrests in that incident, Huizenga said. The perpetrator could face animal cruelty or criminal mischief charges. Huizenga said it's odd to have two mass hog deaths within days of each other, so authorities are not completely discounting the possibility that the incidents are somehow related. Nonetheless the fire, “doesn't look like it was done on purpose.” Huizenga would not say who owned the facilities, but he believes them to be owned by separate companies.
This report contains material from The Associated Press.
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