What to Know
- Hundreds of thousands of chickens were killed when a fast-moving fire roared through buildings at an egg farm in South Jersey.
- No people were injured in the fire at the Red Bird Egg Farm in Pilesgrove. which broke out Monday night.
- One barn was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on scene, and the blaze was spreading to a neighboring barn.
Firefighters spent hours battling a fire at a New Jersey chicken and egg farm Monday night into Tuesday morning as hundreds of thousands of birds were lost to the flames and heat.
The fire started at a building at the large facility at 112 Cemetery Road in Pilesgrove, Salem County, around 8:30 p.m. Monday. It would spread to a total of three Red Bird Egg Farm buildings.
Firefighters spent hours battling the flames and smoke with hot spots still burning as of daybreak Tuesday.
No people were hurt, Mannington Township Fire Chief Lee Butcher said. However, there were several hundred thousand chickens inside the barns before they were engulfed in flames.
"I couldn't understand how a metal building was burning like that," Butcher said.
Roughly 200,000 chickens were killed by the fire, authorities said.
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Another 80,000 died when a neighboring building lost power, knocking out fans used to cool chickens in that structure. Those chickens couldn’t survive the combination of heat from the nearby fire and a hot evening, authorities said.
Crews from surrounding areas responded as firefighters dealt with a water shortage and hot conditions to battle the flames.
Some chickens that survived were wandering around the charred debris Tuesday morning.
Perdue, which leases grain tanks at the location, said the damage was done to the neighboring egg farm, not their facilities. A person who answered the phone for the egg farm said they couldn't comment Tuesday morning.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation by state and local authorities.
This wasn't the first time this farm caught fire. The fire chief said it also went up in flames while a smaller facility decades ago.