Fire at Florida egg farm kills as many as 240,000 chickens

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A raging fire at a Florida farm killed roughly a quarter-million chickens early Thursday, officials said.

A two-alarm blaze at Cal-Maine Foods in Dade City tore through three large barns each containing up to 80,000 chickens, Bay News 9 reported.

Firefighters responded to the chicken coops at about 1 a.m. Thursday and had to use tanker trucks to battle the flames since there were no hydrants nearby, the station reported.

Propane tanks throughout the site also exploded during the fire, complicating efforts to bring it under control, Pasco Fire Rescue Chief of Operations Shawn Whited told the station.

No human injuries were reported. It’s unclear what started the blaze, which remains under investigation, fire officials told Bay 9 News.

Workers at the farm called 911 to report the blaze, WTVT reported. Photos obtained by the outlet show three barns that held anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 chickens completely gutted in the aftermath.

“These chicken coops are very large structures,” Whited said. “There’s a lot of fire in there and the fire is deep into those buildings.”

Whited said firefighters also had to deal with “large explosions” while containing the blaze, which required them to bring in tanker trucks for water since the nearest fire hydrant is three miles away, WTVT reported.

“We are out in the country,” Whited said. “There’s not a lot of infrastructure here.”

Mississippi-based Cal-Maine Foods is the largest producer and distributor of shell eggs in the country, selling brands like Egg-Land’s Best and Land O’ Lakes, according to its website.

The company sold roughly 20 percent of all shell eggs nationwide this year and has more than 51 million chickens across the country, according to the website.

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