Owners persevere after Ventura hog confinement fire


VENTURA, Iowa – Shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, Michelle Luscombe received a knock on her door letting her know their hog confinement facility was engulfed in flames.

Michelle and her husband Brent own Luscombe Enterprises on Balsam Avenue near Ventura — and this isn’t the first fire they’ve endured.

Approximately 250 female hogs and 2,500 piglets were lost in the fire.

“I’ve just seen comments online you know about the people saying I hope they don’t rebuild or whatever but what people don’t understand this is our livelihood, you know, we do a lot of different things, we have cattle and hogs and they feed everybody else. It’s not just for us, I mean it’s not a lot of fun doing all of this. It’s a lot of work,” says Michelle.

The Luscombe family aren’t the only ones affected by this tragedy — their workers are, too.

“I just wished people would be a little more understanding that this is a tragedy for us and for the people that run it and anybody that is in farming understands that,” says Michelle.

“We’ve been to hog confinements before, structures, various structures whether they’re residential or commercial buildings,” says Chuck Shropshire, public information officer of Ventura Fire Department.

Clear Lake and Garner fire departments were also called to help with the fire.

“We have done some mutual aid training so we work well with the other departments whether we’re going to help them or they’re coming to us, so we train as much as we can being that we’re in a small department,” says Shropshire.

As for Michelle, she says its going take some time before things return to normal.

“You just have to persevere with faith and family and friends and everything — we’ve been able to do that, but it’s not always easy.”

Michelle says they are currently waiting on the insurance adjuster to give them the go-ahead to start cleaning up and potentially rebuilding.


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