Chicken House Fire Kills Thousands of Chicks

By: Estephany Escobar
By: Estephany Escobar
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. ---An early morning fire destroyed a chicken house and killed 37,000 chicks on Saturday.

Shawn Rhodes who lives on the farm at 5403 John Wayland Highway said it started after 5 a.m.

"We were in bed and we got an alarm and it said it was a fire temperature alarm and we came to check it and there was fire there so we called 911," said Rhodes.

Rockingham County Fire Chief Jeremy Holloway said no one was hurt. Rhodes is glad everyone else is safe.

"You can replace a chicken house, you can't really life or something...human life," said Rhodes.

Holloway said five fire departments worked for nearly two hours to put out the flames. However, the chicken house was almost gone when they arrived on scene.

The 600-foot building collapsed, leaving only 70 feet still standing. On Saturday, insulation was visible hanging out of what remains of the chicken house. Debris and pieces of the roof cover the rest of it.

"I never thought about that happening to our chicken house," said Rhodes.

Holloway said he does not know the exact cause yet. However, he believes it started in the utility room around a computer system that runs the heater.

Rhodes said right now he is focused on what is ahead.

"Monday morning, we will try to clean it up and start over, try to build it back," said Rhodes.

He said his family grows chickens for a company. Therefore, the company will likely pay his family to get more poultry.

Holloway said crews will check on the fire for the next couple days since it is expected to keep smoldering.

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