The investigation into a pig farm fire that saw several pigs killed, has been handed over to insurers after the fire service couldn't find a cause.

A number of pigs died in a fire at a pig unit off Port Way in Wallingford on Friday afternoon. Crews from Oxfordshire and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service were called out to the blaze at where there was ‘significant smoke' in the area.

Fire crews warned residents to close their doors and windows if they lived near the vicinity of the fire.

At the time of the fire a spokesperson for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “The fire is in an agricultural unit, where a number of pigs are known to have sadly have been involved.

“On arrival, crews were faced with a fully developed fire involving a single storey building, approximately 100 metres x 50 metres, with a significant smoke plume visible. Additional crews were requested.

“Crews worked with the farm owners to fight the fire, having secured water supplies and using a hydraulic platform to access the incident from above in addition as well as protecting surrounding buildings and storage.”

thisisoxfordshire: Pigs die in farm fire. Picture: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters remained at the scene of the fire throughout the night due to the size of the incident.

Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service investigated the fire, but the council has said crews were unable to ascertain the cause.

The council said the matter has now been passed to the insurers for further investigation.

Animal rights organisation PETA was shocked at the incident. PETA Director Elisa Allen said: “Each of these pigs was an individual who felt pain and fear as the flames engulfed them. Those of us upset by the thought of these smart, sensitive animals burning to death can take personal responsibility to stop other pigs’ immense suffering at the abattoir and in transport by choosing to eat delicious vegan sausages and bacon instead. All this misery is indefensible, because no one needs to eat meat. PETA is ready and willing to help anyone make the transition to vegan living. Doing so will help stop cruelty to animals at farms and slaughterhouses.”

thisisoxfordshire: Pigs die in farm fire. Picture: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

The fire comes as farmers have warned that up to 120,000 pigs could be culled as the abattoir labour shortage has led to a backlog of animals ready for slaughter.

The backlog means that farms are struggling to find space for the extra pigs, leaving them with no choice but to cull them in the face of overcrowding concerns.