Turkey House Destroyed by Fire

VIRGINIA, US - A fire has killed thousands of turkeys in Augusta County.
calendar icon 10 November 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Thousands of turkeys intended for Thanksgiving were caught up in a devastating poultry house fire in Augusta County on Tuesday night (8 November), reports NBC29. The blaze caused at least a half-million dollars in damage.

While many of us were watching election returns come in, Jim Ruleman was watching one of his two poultry houses burn to the ground. By the time he discovered the fire at about 8:00pm, it was already too late.

The poultry house at Hilltop View Farm near Swoope was still smoldering the following morning and firefighters say that will continue for several days. The poultry house, which was about a football-field long, housed 11,000 turkeys for Cargill Foods.

Owner Jim Ruleman says he returned home Tuesday night to find an exterior light out on the building so he went to investigate.

He said: "When I come up here, I could see a little bit of smoke coming out of the eaves there. I opened the door and the whole thing was on fire inside. They responded quick, but it just went so fast, it wasn't a whole lot they could do."

The Swoope fire chief says the flames raced through the attic.

The following morning, tractor trailers took birds from an adjacent poultry house, which was not damaged but lost power and water because of the fire.

The fire chief says the blaze does not appear suspicious but Augusta County inspectors do not yet know the cause. According to NBC29, the loss of the Thanksgiving turkeys alone totals roughly $75,000.

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