A local poultry grower lost a chicken house and over 5,000 chickens in a large fire on Monday, Nov. 7, at 253 Arthur Jenkins Lane, located off Sipe Road in Taylorsville.
The fire broke out mid-afternoon and was reported to Alexander County 911 shortly after 3 p.m. by a neighbor, according to personnel at the scene.
Taylorsville, Ellendale, and Wittenburg fire departments were dispatched. Later on, Bethlehem Community Fire & Rescue was dispatched for additional manpower.
The ruined chicken house was one of a pair at the property, which is listed by Alexander County Tax Office as belonging to J. Gail Smith and Kathy Smith.
Contacted by phone, Alexander County Fire Marshal Russell Greene told The Times Monday that the fire origin is unknown at the present time. He said the owner’s son was on the farm and heard an explosion. He came out of the house and saw smoke, making a short video of the scene. Ventilation fans soon turned on, spreading the fire throughout the poultry house.
Greene noted that a flock of chickens was present in the poultry house when the blaze occurred.
Flames had completely engulfed the poultry house by before firemen could arrive. The firefighters’ main avenue of attack, said Greene, was to protect the Smith’s other poultry house and their nearby home.
It was observed at the scene that firefighters sprayed water on a propane tank, which sits between the two chicken houses, in order to protect it from heat.
Greene estimated the property damage at approximately $250,000.
“Our family would like to thank all the responding firefighters,” said Johnny M. Smith. “We’d like to thank Whitt Daniels of Wittenburg Fire Department for helping keep the grass fire, started by the poultry house flames, away from our barns and home.”
Johnny Smith noted that the flock which perished had between 5,000 to 6,000 birds.