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More than 20 pigs killed in Meeker County barn fire

By the time authorities arrived the barn was "engulfed" in flames.

By the time authorities arrived the barn was "engulfed" in flames.

Twenty pig moms and an unknown number of piglets sadly made their way into hog heaven this week.

Late Monday night, a fire broke out in the Manannah Township barn they called home. The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office got the call around 11:20 p.m. and responded to the farm along with the Eden Valley Fire Department. No one with opposable thumbs was harmed in the blaze, though there would be no hoofed survivors. The sheriff’s office says the pigs, the barn, and everything in it — including 1,000 bales of straw — were “a total loss.”

“It was engulfed when [our deputies] got there,” sheriff Brian Cruze says.

Though the fire was quickly contained to the 44-by-52-foot barn, firefighters were on the scene until noon the next day, Cruze says. Around midnight the Litchfield Fire Department was called for backup, as more water was needed to fight the flames, says fire chief Greg Gilbertson. Firefighters from nearby Watkins also pitched in.

The farm’s owner Mark Ruhland was unable to be reached for comment. But a woman answering their phone said a crew was on hand Wednesday to help with the cleanup.

While the exact cause of the fire is unknown, Cruze doesn't suspect anything sketchy. The fire started near a heat lamp and another heating source.

The value of the barn, which Cruze says was set up specifically for birthing piglets, was unclear. But it’s impossible to put a price on the lives the adorable baby swine won’t live (well, what’s a pound of bacon going for?). Heartbreakingly, they will never get to roll in another mud pit or audition for that Babe reboot.

At least they’re now slurping from the big trough in the sky.