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Tens Of Thousands Of Chickens Killed In Wright County Egg Farm Fire

Originally published on May 29

HOWARD LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) -- Massive flames burned down a barn with tens of thousands of chickens in Wright County.

The fire started late Saturday night at Forsman Farms in Howard Lake, causing major damage.

The Trebesch family thought they would spend Saturday night around their bonfire, but just after 10 p.m. they noticed massive flames across the field at Forsman Farms.

"It was unbelievable how quick it grew, it was insane," Andy Trebesch said. "It was the whole sky, it was quite large."

Howard Lake Egg Farm Fire 2
(credit: Dassel Fire Dept.)

They called 911. Firefighters from multiple agencies across Wright County showed up, many volunteer firefighters. A barn housing tens of thousands of chickens was leveled, in what a farm spokesperson called a "tragic accident."

According to Forsman Farms website, the farm started in 1918, and now the fourth-generation family farm sells more than three million eggs a day to some of the nation's largest retailers.

"Overnight, a fire destroyed one of our barns at our Howard Lake farm. No one was injured and we are grateful that first responders were quickly on scene to put out the fire. Unfortunately, chickens were lost because of the fire. We are evaluating the extent of the damage – which appears to be confined to a single structure – as well as investigating the cause of the fire," a Forsman Farms spokesperson said.

Howard Lake Egg Farm Fire
(credit: Dassel Fire Dept.)

Cokato resident Eddie Olson heard about the fire on his scanner that he typically uses during severe weather.

"Fires are scary in general, but when you see something of that scale you know, out of control It was just hard to, you know, to think about the chickens, the company, you know, people that work there," Olson said. "It's kind of a hard hit because we're already struggling, you know, with the eggs and the cost of stuff and that takes kind of a bite out of the market."

The farm is still evaluating the extent of the damage from the fire as investigators work to determine its cause.

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