Around 300,000 hens feared dead in fire at Walworth Co. egg farm

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LA GRANGE, Wis. (WITI) -- More than 60 departments from Southeastern Wisconsin worked well into Saturday morning, February 1st, battling a 4-alarm fire at S&R Egg Farm in Walworth County. The fire was contained to just one building, housing around 300,000 hens inside at the time.

"There's just no way to save any of those birds. It was all over and done for them real early on," said La Grand Fire Chief John Duerst.

Duerst was one of the first to arrive on the scene of the blaze around 7:30 Friday night. The chief quickly realized the fire was much too large for his volunteer staff to handle.

"We figured it would be kind of a bad nightmare for a fire there," said Duerst.

Departments from Racine, Jefferson and Rock Counties were called in to assist. With no hydrants in the remote area, crews were forced to haul in water from up to seven miles away.

S&R Egg Farm is the largest employer in the township and has been family owned for three generations. As officials extinguished the last of the flames Saturday morning, there were signs that the fire wouldn't be slowing down business.

"As far as I know they are collecting eggs and processing eggs like normal," Duerst said.

Aside from the deceased birds, no one was injured in the fire. Officials are still working to pinpoint a cause.

"It will probably be undetermined," said Duerst. "I'm sure the insurance company will do their own investigation."

S&R houses more than two million hens on site and produces up to two million eggs daily.

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