Hundreds of pigs die in Rochelle barn fire - – Rockford’s News Leader

UPDATE: Hundreds of pigs die in Rochelle barn fire


A huge pig farm fire in Ogle County causes thousands of dollars in damage. No people were hurt, but a lot of hogs died.

Fire crews don't know an exact numbers yet but say it's likely several hundred on a farm that had 2.000 hogs. That's on top of losing almost two barns.

"By the time I got over here the whole south building was already engulfed and it was going up the connecting building to the north one," says Bert Huftalin.

Huftalin says he got a call from a hunter who saw flames break through the roof of his barn.  No one lives at the farm at 1957 S. Mulford Road in Rochelle besides Huftalin's hogs.  With no hydrants around 11 fire departments were called in and more than 60 firefighters came to battle the blaze.  Besides dealing with fires in two barns, crew also had pigs they were trying to save.

"These hogs only know one thing and their lives have been inside this building. So leaving the building is completely unknown to them where they feel safer staying in the building so its a job just getting them to leave the building. We still have hogs that will not walk through an open door to come out," says Chief Brian Johnson, Rochelle Fire Department and Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District. 

It was not just firefighters who rushed to the scene.  Dozens of neighbors came with their own equipment to help.

"We had a bunch of people show up with trucks and trailers with goosenecks.  And we've probably already taken 450 to 500 pigs offsite to another facility," says Huftalin.

"You see how many farmers came to help.  These guys are all from area farms that came out to help and I think that is really extraordinary," says Johnson.

Early estimates by the fire department are at least a hundred thousand dollars in damage. Crews believe it was accidental, possibly a heater in a barn sparked the blaze.


Hundreds of pigs are dead and a barn completely destroyed after an early morning fire in Rochelle.

Eleven fire departments and 60 firefighters responded to 1957 South Mulford Friday morning for a barn fire. Out of three barns on the property, one is completely destroyed, another suffered damage to about two-thirds of its structure, and the third was spared.

About 2,000 pigs lived on the farm. When the fire began in the first barn, hundreds of pigs were trapped inside. After their pens were open, not all of the pigs escaped before the barn's roof collapsed, killing them. The surviving pigs were taken to another farm.

A heater could have caused the fire, however, the cause is still under investigation, according to Rochelle's fire chief.

It's estimated that the fire caused over $100,000 in damage.

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