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Technical defect causes death of 8,000 pigs in fire in Germany

Staff Writer |
The fire at a pig farm in the German town Rheine which led to the death of 8,000 pigs on Sunday was caused by a technical defect, police revealed on Monday.

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An inquiry into the porcine tragedy ruled out fault by a third party, but assumed the fire started due to a technical defect.

At least 100 fire fighters tried to extinguish the flames, as the smoke could be seen from miles away. The stables which had caught fire were completely destroyed. Of the 13,000 pigs living on the farm, 8,000 were killed in the blaze.

First estimates of the damage are in millions. The state's Minister of Agriculture Ursula Heinen-Esser travelled to Rheine on Monday morning local time to get first-hand information about the situation. She voiced her shock about the accident, calling the vast number of dead pigs an "unbearable thought".

The farm is a German traditional family business in its fifth generation. In addition to rearing piglets and sows, it operates a bio-gas plant that can generate electricity for up to 1,000 households from its own manure and slurry.

The owner of the farm, Ralf Exeler, wants to rebuild the parts that were destroyed by the fire. "We are farmers by passion. Somehow it will definitely go on." the tenacious farmer told German press.

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