Fire at pig barn contained inside building

December 12, 2012

Several departments responded to the barn fire.

CRYSTAL TWP. — Several fire departments were on scene of a pig barn fire this morning outside of Crystal Valley. The barn, located on 128th Avenue, is owned by Rusty and Theresa Shafer.

On scene were Walkerville, Crystal Township, Pentwater, Hart and Riverton Township fire departments. No flames or smoke were showing around 11:30 a.m. but Riverton Twp. Fire Chief Joe Cooper said he was told there had been flames inside the building and possibly an explosion. Cooper said he did not know what the cause of the fire was. Cooper said he heard Pentwater being paged out about 45 minutes before his department was called, around 11:15 a.m. Riverton and Walkerville firefighters were called to relieve the firefighters inside the barn, Cooper said.

Theresa Shafer would not comment on the fire. Her inlaws, Jerry and Bernice Shafer — who own the nearby Maple Grove Farm (but do not own the pig barn) — said there were no pigs in the barn. Jerry Shafer said the barn had just been cleaned and a new shipment of pigs was expected tomorrow.

Theresa Shafer said she and Rusty only own the barn, the livestock is owned by someone else, which also operates the facility. She said the company that operates the facility did not want photographs taken of the fire.

A sign on the gate at the entrance to the property said Génétiporc. The company’s website shows that it is an international company with several locations including an office in Alexandria Minnesota. According to, Génétiporc is a swine genetics company.

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