By Joe Beck
Fire destroyed a poultry barn and 17,000 chickens inside Wednesday night at 8823 South Middle Road in Mount Jackson.
David Ferguson, fire marshal with the Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue Department, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Ferguson said fire department trucks were sent to the site at 9:28 p.m. after the owner, Philip Bowman, reported the fire on a 911 call. The fire was brought under control at 11:07 p.m., Ferguson said.
Ferguson said Bowman discovered the fire after receiving an alert from a temperature monitoring system kept in the building.
Ferguson said fire and rescue units from Mount Jackson, New Market, Orkney Springs, Conicville, Edinburg, and the Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue department responded to the call. Volunteer departments from Luray in Page County and Timberville in Rockingham County filled in at Shenandoah County stations while their firefighters were at the poultry barn.
John Collins, a spokesman for the Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue Department, said firefighters found the entire structure on fire when they arrived at the scene. He said they immediately worked to prevent the fire from spreading to a propane tank, feed silos and an outbuilding that he described as "very close." All of those structures and a nearby poultry barn were protected from the fire, he said.
The fire's location in a rural area required fire engines and water tankers to shuttle back and forth between the poultry barn and a farm pond from which they carried more than 20,000 gallons of water, Collins said.