1,000 Pigs Die in Barn Fire

March 9, 2012 Updated Mar 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

March 9, 2012 Updated Mar 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM EDT

(Darien, NY) A devastating barn fire in the Town of Darien on Thursday March 8th, has taken the lives of 1,000 young pigs.

The three-alarm blaze broke out at the Willow Ridge Farms, owned by Charlie and Laurie Miller.

Fire crews from eight departments helped keep the fire from spreading to other adjacent barns, but flames destroyed a nursery area that contained hundreds of young pigs.

"We lost around 1,000, what we call nursery age pigs. They would be from 20 to 60 pounds," says co-owner Laurie Miller.

Firefighters rescued approximately 400 other pigs that were also inside the same burning structure.

"It is a tough situation, and we are blessed to have so many people help us," adds owner Charlie Miller.

Thursday night, firefighters, neighbors, and friends helped the family round up pigs that were running free.

On Friday, 30 volunteers, including fellow farmers, came to the burned-out barn to help clean up debris and remove hundreds of dead pig carcasses.

"You don't know until you have a disaster, the type of things people will do for you. We appreciate it," commented a tearful David Miller.

Willow Ridge Farms is the largest independent hog farm in New York State with 6,500 animals.

The owners say the fire will not put them out of business, but it will set them back.

"We are resilient," says Laurie Miller

"We will pull up our bootstraps and keep at it because we love it."