KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports -

Roughly 4,000 sows and 9,000 piglets were killed over the weekend in a gigantic blaze at a sow farm in southern Minnesota.

According to CBS Minnesota, staff at the Cougar Run Sow Farm near Truman, Minn., reported the inferno around 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.  Smoke from the fire could be seen from almost 40 miles away.

It took 10 responding fire crews from across the county and 400,000 gallons of water to get the fire under control.

Structurally, an estimated 75 percent of the farm, managed by Pipestone System, was destroyed.

No employees were injured in the blaze; however, the emotional toll of the tragedy was overwhelming.

“They were more than just livestock to us,” Cougar Run employee Kaycee Gebhart told CBS Minnesota.

She added, “A truck is replaceable, barns are replaceable, but these hogs are our livelihood and we cared for them every day.”

Read more here.

Wanda Patsche, a Welcome, Minn., pork producer, was among the first to report the fire on social media.

“I watched the smoke all afternoon from the seat of my combine not realizing this was the source of the smoke. My heart just hurts thinking about the devastation. Not only the horrific loss of animals, but the loss of property, loss of jobs and a complete upheaval for the owners of this farm,” she wrote after learning more about the fire.

KEYC-TV News 12 reports in an article here Pipestone System CEO and Cougar Run Farm President Luke Minion expects the farm to recover and rebuild.

"First thing, we are thankful no one got hurt. Second it's a tragedy to have a fire like this - we lost a lot of animals,” said Minion. “The owners of this farm will re-group. We will rebuild this farm and start over."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.