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About 2,000 pigs dead after barn floor collapse on Guelph-Eramosa farm

by Meagan Leonard

GUELPH-ERAMOSA - Provincial environment and agriculture officials remained on scene for at least a week to assist in the aftermath of a barn floor collapse here that killed about 2,000 pigs.

The OPP received a call regarding the collapse at a Jones Baseline farm at about 8:48pm on May 6.

Four OPP officers and one auxiliary officer responded to the scene, said OPP media relations officer Bob Bortolato.

Ten members of the Guelph Fire Department also responded and remained on site until midnight to monitor the scene after high levels of the flammable toxin hydrogen sulfide were detected.

Guelph Fire Chief Shawn Armstrong told the Advertiser the pigs were housed on the barn’s eight-foot raised platform, suspended over liquid manure.

After the platform collapsed, many of the animals were stuck in the tank, making rescue efforts difficult.

Police say two workers inside the barn at the time of the collapse were not injured.

The 60- by 300-foot concrete barn, which a source close to the owners  said is just one year old, held approximately 2,500 pigs.

“Efforts were made by those on scene, including local farmers and emergency services, to save as many pigs as possible,” police said in a press release.

“As a result of the efforts, approximately 500 pigs were saved.”

Several hundred pigs were killed in the collapse, while hundreds more were stuck in the liquid manure holding space located beneath the barn.

People on site were still trying to rescue pigs at least into the afternoon on May 7.

 

The Ministry of Environment was contacted and attended, but the liquid manure was quickly contained before it could reach nearby Guelph Lake, said ministry communications officer Kate Jordan.

“Staff from the farm were able to construct temporary berms and trenches to contain the spill to the site,” Jordan told the Advertiser.

“Clean up has involved collecting material that has been contained and then applying it on the farm ... we will continue to oversee those efforts for as long as it does take and to make sure they’re doing it properly.”

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food also remained on site for days to support and monitor clean up.

Susan Murray from the ministry’s Guelph office said staff are “working with farm management, and supporting the herd’s veterinarian on site with animal care.”

It is unclear what caused the barn floor to collapse.

May 16, 2014

 
 

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