Heat wave fire roasts 300,000 chickens, melts South Jersey barns
PILESGROVE — Nearly 300,000 chickens were killed in a fire that started Monday night and burned all night at the Red Bird Egg Farm.
Flames broke out 8:25 p.m. in an aluminum barn om Cemetery Road and spread to a neighboring barn, according to State Police spokesman Alejandro Goez. State Police provides policing for the rural Salem County community.
Fire departments from Cumberland and Gloucester counties helped put out the fire, which was put under control early Tuesday morning.
No people were injured but Mannington Fire Department Chief Lee Butcher told CBS Philly that 200,000 chickens died in the fire in the main building and another 80,000 were killed in a neighboring building.
Video of the farm shows one building completely burned to the ground.
The chief told CBS Philly that the biggest problem fighting the fire was a lack of water, as there are no hydrants in the immediate area.
The chief told NBC Philadelphia the extreme heat was also a factor. He said some of the metal in the barns, which are made of aluminum, melted from the heat of the day and the fire.
New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the temperature at 8:30 p.m. was still 87 degrees with a dew point of 77.
"Braving such steamy weather in full fire gear sounds awful," Zarrow said.
NBC Philadelphia reported the chickens provided eggs for Perdue.
Butcher on Thursday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshall.
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