300 000 chickens killed at Vande Bunte poultry farm fire in Otsego, Michigan, US
A large fire destroyed a barn on Friday, 3 January 2020, at a poultry farm in Otsego, Michigan and killed about 300 000 chickens. Multiple fire departments were called to a cage-free poultry farm owned by Konos Vande Bunte Eggs after a fire started about 11h00. “Fire fighters have been working very fast and effectively to contain this fire and make sure the loss is minimalised,” farm spokesman Brian Burch said. Burch said 50 people worked at the farm and were all safe, except for minor smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported. Fire crews had to truck in water to fight the fire over several hours.
The smoke from the fire could be seen from Bittersweet Ski Resort, which is six miles south of the farm. People in Battle Creek and Augusta smelled the smoke on the wind, according to Battle Creek city officials.
“Agriculture fires are always a challenge, especially at a place like this. We don’t have city water, we don’t have those same kinds of assets that we sometimes take for granted in cities,” Burch said.
They were able to prevent one of the two barns at the farm from damage and saved 250 000 hens.
The cause of the fire is unknown, but the investigation is ongoing.
Burch said the farm produced about 550 000 eggs a day. The farm will be at reduced production for the near future, but the company doesn't expect a supply or price of eggs to change. When he was asked if any jobs would be lost, Burch said, "Not at the moment, I don't know the answer to that." "We are thankful for the work of all the fire departments that helped today," Rob Knect, Kono vice president of operations, said in a written statement on the fire. "Their quick actions kept our farm safe and we are eager to resume production tomorrow."
According to the history page of the company website, Kono Vande Bunte Eggs has offices in Otsego, Martin, Michigan and Grant Park, Illinois. The company was founded in 1946 by Howard Vande Bunte, in Forest Grove, Michigan.
The Animal Welfare Institute found in 2019 there were nearly 200 reported barn fires throughout the country. Nearly 500 000 animals were killed in those fires.
In Michigan, 14 fires killed nearly 300 000 animals last year. In April 2019, the highest amount of animal deaths due to a barn fire happened at Herbruck's Poultry Ranch in Ionia County. The fire killed 250 000 hens.