Official: 1 million chickens killed in fire at egg-producing facility

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (WANE) Nearly two dozen departments responded to a large fire Hi-Grade Egg Producers Monday night.

The fire was initially reported in a poultry barn at 5780 E. 1100 N., just east of North Manchester. It started around 10:30 p.m.

Firefighters battle a fire at Hi-Grade Egg Producers in North Manchester. (Steve Olsen)

Fire officials said wind caused the flames to spread to at least four other large barns on the property. Four or more of them appeared to be total losses.

Crews from 22 different fire departments around the area finally got the fire under control just before 5 a.m. Tuesday, nearly seven hours after it started. The fire smoldered throughout the day Tuesday.

It was a large effort that Brandon Volk, Chester Township Fire Department Chief, said he is proud of despite the damage.

“We had a lot of people away from their families all night tonight,” Volk said. “A lot of us are going right back to work this morning, so it’s a big thanks to all the volunteers that came out and gave their time here. I thought we fought it the best we could. Unfortunately that’s just how it goes sometimes.”

Several fire units stayed at the scene well into morning to watch for any re-ignition to the fire.

Nobody was hurt during the fire, but more than one million chickens died in the blaze. The complex houses 2.7 million chickens.

Hi-Grade Company President Bob Krause told NewsChannel 15 processing facilities were not damaged, allowing staff to continue to work Tuesday. He expects operations to be back to 100% in about 5 months with the helps of other farmers sharing extra chickens and eggs.

The fire is under investigation.