Manure pit foam is being partially blamed for a hog barn fire at a farm near New Hampton, Iowa.

According to the New Hampton Tribune, the blaze was reported on Sept. 15 as owner Leon Sheets power-washed the facility. All of the hogs had been removed from the building prior to the cleaning and were left unscathed by the fire.

Sheets, however, suffered second- and third-degree burns over more than 10 percent of his body. His wife, Barb, reports he is now undergoing skin grafts and is doing much better.

KIMT News spoke with Ron Birkenholz with the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) to take a closer look at the fire. According Birkenholz, foam and manure – among other factors - are to be partially blamed for the fire.

“The foaming increases the risk of fire, but 60 to 70 percent of the issue is methane, says Birkenholz. “Methane can spark or ignite, and this is probably what happened at the most recent incident in Ionia.” “From what we understand, Sheets was power washing and something kicked on and sparked the methane.”

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Sheets served as president of the IPPA from 2011-2012. See, “New IPPA president hopes for less market volatility in 2011.”