Fire that killed thousands of pigs in Northern Ireland was an 'accident'
Investigators had initially feared the blaze had been started deliberately
A fire that killed up to 4,300 pigs, including over 3,000 piglets, at a farm in Northern Ireland was accidental, fire investigators have said.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) had initially expressed concern that the blaze may have been started deliberately, but on Monday night a spokesman for the service said it was now being treated as “accidental ignition”.
Investigations are continuing to identify the exact source of the devastating incident at the farm on Derrywilligan Road, around two miles from the village of Bessbrook, Co Armagh.
The NIFRS has estimated that 800 sows and 3,500 piglets perished in the “intense” blaze, which took hold in the early hours of Saturday morning and destroyed three sheds.
Firefighters were called to the site at about 5.40am and it took crews seven hours to bring the situation under control.
On Monday carcasses were being removed in a major clean-up operation. A significant number of pigs survived the fire, having been evacuated from the building as the flames took hold, and it is understood the owner of the property believes the death toll could be lower than estimates suggest.
Stormont Assembly member Danny Kennedy, who lives a short distance from the farm, said he was shocked.
“This is a very distressing incident,” he said.
“Not only for the loss of this number of animals, but also the impact on this local business.”
Fellow Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin said: “I know the farmer who operates this farm and this is certainly a terrible incident with the fire claiming a significant number of sows and piglets.
"Agriculture in general is under pressure with costs of production continuing to rise and a real price squeeze on farmers in the processing and retail end of the scale so to see this type of loss of animals and property is concerning and unfortunate for the producer concerned."
Additional reporting by Press Association
Justin Bieber was one of the hardest hit
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for two indivi...
£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a major supplier of buil...
£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...