State police: ‘Criminal involvement’ not suspected in hog farm fire
State police investigating the massive barn fire in Lynn Township that killed nearly 4,000 hogs Saturday say “criminal involvement” is not suspected at this time, but that a probe into the cause of the blaze could be lengthy.
“Unfortunately, due largely to the amount of structure loss and the collapsing of both barn buildings on the property, the ability to generate a cause is greatly hindered,” said Trooper Nathan T. Branosky, spokesman for Troop M in Bethlehem. “The cause of the fire will be listed as undetermined at this time.”
Firefighters were summoned to Billig Farms on 7861 Spring House Road at 5:41 a.m. Saturday and found two barns engulfed in flames.
The side-by-side woodframed structures with metal roofs collapsed during the blaze, killing all the animals inside.
On Monday, the farm’s owner began the grim task of burying the animals under the supervision of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The process involved digging a trench and covering the carcasses in at least 2 feet of soil, said DEP spokesperson Colleen Connolly.
Numerous agencies are involved in the investigation and cleanup, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a state police fire marshal.
The farmer’s insurance company is also involved, Branosky said.
The barns were located far off the road, causing some difficulties for firefighters, Lynnport Community Fire Company Chief Clark Mantz said. Crews from Lehigh, Berks and Schuylkill fought the fire for eight hours, siphoning water from a nearby pond to pour on the blaze.
Branosky said the barn was not equipped with fire suppression sprinklers, though there was a “system of misting devices to help with the temperatures inside the barns for the animals during summer months.”
The farm’s owner, Timothy Billig, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Morning Call reporter Laurie Mason Schroeder can be reached at 610-820-6506 or lma[email protected]
Thousands of hogs were killed in a fire that destroyed two barns on a Lynn Township farm Saturday morning, according to the Lynnport Community Fire Company. Fire Chief Clark Mantz said the fire company was summoned at 5:41 a.m. to 7861 Spring House Road and arrived to find the barns ablaze.