Firefighters and neighbours saved building but as many as 20,000 chickens were killed or will have to be euthanized
SPRING VALLEY – Murray’s Poultry Farm was dealt a huge blow Sunday evening as a fire damaged one of the operation’s huge barns and killed as many as half of its chicken population, as many as 20,000 egg-laying hens.
When TC Media spoke with owner Leith Murray Monday morning, he was already immersed in dealing with his insurance company and trying to sort out how to start the monumental task of cleaning up the mess he’s been left with.
“We’ll recover – but it makes it harder. A building – you know – is no problem. It’s boards and steel – that’s no problem. But your livestock,” he said, letting the thought trail off.
“I’ve been doing this for 36 years – we like what we do, but stuff like this just takes the wind right out of your sails. It’s just devastating … a tragedy,” he said.
Murray suspects that while some of the chickens would have died in the fire, most would have suffocated or died from smoke inhalation.
He said he and his wife were out for supper when the security company called to report the fire alarm. They arrived home just before firefighters started arriving.
There wasn’t much they could do at that point but watch and hope for the best, he said.
“You take stuff like that personal.”
“Anyway, you get through it – toughen up the skin some more.”
Kensington and New London fire departments responded to the call.
“She was ablaze in the middle section when we arrived,” said Alan Sudsbury, Kensington fire chief.
“We saved the building, but there was some structural damage in the area of the fire,” said Sudsbury.
Firefighters were on scene for about two hours, he added, though he, the insurance representative and the deputy fire marshal were there until at least midnight.
The Provincial Fire Marshal’s Office ruled Monday afternoon that fire was accidental. It was likely caused by an overheated fan motor, which caused the surrounding material to combust.