TORONTO — Approximately 2,000 pigs have been killed following a barn fire in North Middlesex, north of London, Ont., early Tuesday morning.
Ontario Provincial Police say emergency crews responded to the call just after 2 a.m. ET. on Parkhill Drive in Parkhill.
There’s no word yet on what caused the blaze and the Ontario Fire Marshal has been brought in to investigate.
Meanwhile, local officials are urging farm owners and operators to check their barns for fire safety hazards in light of the most recent incident.
This latest incident has prompted calls to upgrade the National Farm building code to include the protection of animals.
“Across the country, hundreds of thousands of animals perish in barn fires,” Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Canadian Federation of Humane Societies told Global News.
“We see it happen all too often unfortunately and it should be something that happens once in a while and not a regular occurrence.”
Barns in Ontario are mandated by the Ontario Fire Code. Cartwright says farmers need to be trained in fire safety to maintain the safety of their animals and livestock.
“They know where to go and they know why they don’t go back in,” Cartwright said. “They can train just like we do fire drills for humans.”
But National Research Council Canada said the code primarily focuses on the protection of human life — not animals.
“That deals with the protection of the occupants within that building,” said Philip Rizcallah, a senior technical advisor for NRCC.
“So it is the safety of occupants from fire, or snow collapse, or other hazards in that building.”
One of the aspects that needs to be completed is conducting a fire drill with the horses so that they know what happens when this systems goes off.
Around 500 goats and more than two dozen cattle died after fire broke out on a farm in Delaware outside of London in the early morning hours of Jan. 17.
The fire comes days after thirteen horses died in a barn fire in Mount Forest, Ont., northwest of Guelph on Jan. 15.
That fire was preceded by a devastating blaze in Puslinch, Ont., in which 43 standardbred horses also died.
With files from Angie Seth