(Sauk Centre MN-) Two men were hospitalized and 50 pigs died after being exposed to noxious fumes at a Stearns County hog operation. The sheriff's department says at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday they and the Sauk Centre Police were called to Fiedler Finishing in Getty Township, five miles south of Sauk Centre. According to Sheriff Don Gudmundson, 27-year-old Robert Alverson of Osakis and 31-year-old Bradley Kettering of Glenwood, were working inside the pig barn agitating and pumping manure throughout the day. They found about 50 dead pigs. They opened the curtains on the barn to ventilate the contaminated area, but then Alverson and Kettering became ill due to the exposure and exited the barn. They 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. Business owner Paul Fiedler said the barn contained approximately 5,000 pigs and it does not appear any other animals were harmed.
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. It is believed hydrogen sulfide gases caused the illness to the two men and the death of the pigs.