Fast-moving barn fire kills 22,000 chickens

ASHLAND COUNTY, OH -- A farm owner says he noticed the smoke while he was cutting the grass.

Matthew Van Pelt rounded a corner and found his 500-foot-long barn on fire, and inside, more than 22,000 chickens in peril.

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A half-dozen horses died as a result of the fire that broke out early this morning, destroying a big rig and a barn

Sadly, all the chickens were killed as the fire burned through the Mennonite poultry operation in Nova Township.

Firefighters from several departments fought the fire for hours.

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Savannah Volunteer Fire Department Chief Stephen Dinsmore said the ventilation system played a role in how rapidly the fire spread.

"You get a small fire and those fans, the ventilation system suck it through the building in a matter of minutes, so it doesn't take long for these things to evolve very quickly and hard to get under control," Dinsmore said.

Along with the chickens, Van Pelt estimates he lost thousands of eggs, completely destroyed as the fire engulfed the building.

The farm owner said he thinks it was an electrical issue that caused the fire. Arson investigators are looking into the reason for the blaze.
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