More than 200,000 chickens perish in fire at South Jersey farm

Katherine Scott Image
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Hundreds of thousands of chickens perish in large farm fire
Hundreds of thousands of chickens perish in large farm fire

PILESGROVE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Hens wandered atop piles of rubble on Tuesday morning, scattered across the grounds, after a devastating fire at Red Bird Egg Farm on Cemetery Road in Pilesgrove.

"The metal was so hot, it was just melting," described Mannington Fire Chief Lee Butcher.

Indeed the flames were fierce, churning through two buildings that house chickens.

When firefighters arrived on Monday night around 8 p.m., flames were already tearing through the roof of one of the buildings.

A large fire was burning Monday night at a farm in Pilesgrove, New Jersey.

"The fire is coming out of the roof. They are all tin buildings, so you couldn't go inside of them," Butcher explained.

It took hours to place the fire under control, with crews remaining until morning.

Tankers had been brought in from Gloucester and Cumberland counties.

"Our biggest problem was, we have no hydrants out here. We had to have all water trucks, all the water in, so we had to go into a tanker task force," said Butcher.

According to the fire chief, approximately 200,000 chickens died in the fire. He said an additional 80,000 chickens died in a neighboring building that lost power, cutting the fans from blowing.

The cause of the fire under investigation.