PETERSBURG — Firefighters from two fire departments battled a Pillen Family Farms hog unit fire for more than eight hours on Wednesday southwest of Petersburg in Boone County.

The Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department with help from the Albion Volunteer Fire Department battled the pig confinement, which was nearly destroyed.

Petersburg Fire Chief Neal Baumgartner said the unit contained just under 10,000 small pigs. He said it is believed most of the 20-pounders died of asphyxiation. All were killed, he said.

The Petersburg department was called to the scene at 3:14 a.m. and didn’t return until after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Albion Fire Department was called immediately for mutual aid, with a total of about 30 firefighters working the fire.

The fire was through the roof when firefighters arrived. Baumgartner estimated that 75% of the structure was destroyed, and the damage will likely tally over $1 million, including the loss of hogs.

Because of the difficulty in getting to the fire source, the decision was made to raze the structure and bury it. He said that the cause of the fire was under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office, and that there had been construction on the site the day before.

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