PIERCETON, Ind, (WANE) – A massive firefighting effort likely prevented further damage at a feed mill in Pierceton early Thursday morning.
A police officer on routine patrol spotted smoke coming from the Egg Innovations Feed Mill around 2 a.m.
The first arriving firefighters attempted to enter the center superstructure to locate the fire but quickly determined it was too risky to stay inside, according to Pierceton Fire Department Captain Nathan Rhoades.
Rhoades said crews immediately called for additional fire departments as flames were spotted in the top of the structure in the grinding area of the mill. The top grinding area, where a majority of the fire was located, contained a lot of dust which Rhoades said is easily combustible.
Crews from Warsaw, Winona Lake, and Washington Township responded. Additional fire departments were placed on standby, including Whitley County crews. Firefighters used three aerial trucks to attack the flames in the old, wooden structure. Rhoades said the age of the building allowed the wood to burn quickly.
“There is a basement to this facility,” Rhoades told NewsChannel 15. “So once the fire is hot and you’ve got all that debris that comes down … it can go clear below ground.”
Flames and smoke could be seen for several miles before crews began attacking the fire, according to Rhoades. Heavy smoke continued to encompass much of the area as water doused flames.
Rhoades said crews had the fire under control around 3:30 a.m. and were able to prevent any major fire from reaching bins that immediately surrounded the center building.
No injuries were reported.
The mill is fully operational but nobody was working when the fire started. Investigators will get inside the building later Thursday and try and determine the exact cause of the fire. Fire officials said they don’t believe the fire is suspicious, but investigators will make the final ruling.
In July, another Egg Innovations facility went up in flames. That massive fire killed 65,000 chickens and took crews more than five hours to put out. The chickens were four weeks out from laying eggs at the time. The football-field sized chicken coop was destroyed by the fire.