Two thousand pigs perished in a fire on a pig farm in Kilkeel, Co Down, on Monday night, 7 September.
Farm owner Trevor Shields told the Irish Farmers Journal: “The house went up in a flash. Within minutes, the flames had overcome the building. Luckily, my son only lives a couple of minutes up the road and was able to raise the alarm.
“The farrowing house had 140 sows in it along with their piglets, so there was up on 2,000 animals in there. The [farrowing] house was modern and was only built three years ago.
“It had all the high-spec equipment needed such as controlled ventilation.”
We are absolutely devastated but the only thing for it is to get going again
One person suffered minor burns and the fire was brought under control by 11.50pm, by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental ignition.
“We are absolutely devastated but the only thing for it is to get going again. We are most upset about losing bloodlines.
“The house can be easily replaced but you can never get the genetics back once they are gone,” Shields said.
Three fire appliances, the animal rescue team and a command support unit from the NIFRS attended the incident.
“Fair play to the firefighters, they were on the scene within eight minutes of our call and were able to contain the flames to just one of the sheds,” Shields said.
“We have 700 sows on the farm here and we also run the pig genetics company Glenmarshal Sires. Our genetics are used in every county on the island.”