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300,000 hens perish in egg farm fire

A four-alarm fire destroyed part of S & R Egg Farm.
A four-alarm fire destroyed part of S & R Egg Farm.©2014 Dustin Alexander/Metro News Milwaukee

LA GRANGE - A four-alarm fire destroyed one of fourteen barns at S & R Egg Farm, N9416 Tamarack Road in Whitewater, Friday, January 31. The blaze started at 7:30 p.m. Over 300,000 hens perished in the blaze.

Almost 60 agencies responded to the fire, but efforts were hampered by cold weather and freezing hoses. With no water hydrants nearby, tankers refilled at dump ponds in Palmyra, Eagle, Whitewater and Elkhorn which created more delays. Just after 11:00 a.m. Saturday, the fire was extinguished.

“It was all over and done for the hens early on. They can't tolerate extreme temperature changes,” said Lauderdale La Grange Fire Chief John Duerst.

Saturday afternoon all that could be seen was the shell of a burnt out barn, hundreds of charred hen cages still stacked in rows. The company does plan to rebuild as soon as an investigation is complete.

“All other barns remain in full production. There was no damage to the company offices or facilities in which the eggs are processed and packaged for shipment to customers,” stated Dan Gorecki, CEO, S & R Egg Farm. There were no injuries as a result of the fire.

“S & R would like to thank and acknowledge the efforts of all the fire departments deployed and appreciates those sending compassionate regards,” said Gorecki.

The barns house approximately 2.4 million hens which produce over 1 million eggs daily. S & R Egg Farm, Inc. is a third-generation family-owned business, opened in 1958 and currently employs 155 people. The company supplies eggs to markets, restaurants and bakeries. Firewalls are noted for preventing the fire to spread further.