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Fumes at Sauk Centre pig barn sicken two workers

Noxious fumes at a pig barn near Sauk Centre killed 50 pigs and made two men ill on Nov. 7, according to authorities.

At 6:30 p.m., Stearns County deputies and Sauk Centre police were notified of a possible exposure of noxious fumes at Fiedler Finishing, 34496 415th Ave. in Getty Township, about five miles south of Sauk Centre.

According to Sheriff Don Gudmundson, Robert Alverson, 27, of Osakis and Bradley Kettering, 31, of Glenwood, were working inside the pig barn agitating and pumping manure throughout the day.

While working in the barn, they located approximately 50 deceased pigs. After opening the curtains on the barn to ventilate the contaminated area, both Alverson and Kettering became ill due to the exposure and exited the barn, according to Gudmundson.

According to a news release, the men were both showing signs and symptoms commonly associated with hazardous gas exposure. Alverson and Kettering were treated at the Sauk Centre Hospital for their exposure.

Fiedler Finishing's owner, Paul Fiedler, 40, of Sauk Centre, said the barn contained approximately 5,000 pigs and it does not appear any other animals were harmed, according to the news release.

The Sauk Centre Fire Department, Sauk Centre Ambulance and the St. Cloud Fire Department Hazardous Material Response Team responded to the scene for evaluation.

Upon further testing and investigation, no hazardous gases were found in or around the barn. Authorities said hydrogen sulfide gases caused the illness to the two men and the death of the pigs.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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