More than 400,000 chickens may have been lost when a fire broke out Feb. 27 at a Michael Foods layer house in Bloomfield, Neb. State senator Tim Gragert told Siouxland News that a fire alarm activated in one building that housed 400,000 chickens and that chickens in a neighboring barn also experienced smoke inhalation.
Michael Foods, the largest U.S. processor of value-added eggs, reported that employees were safely evacuated, and no injuries were reported.
The Knox Country Sheriff’s Office said a 911 call reporting the fire was received at approximately 5:15 on Feb. 27. Multiple emergency agencies were called to the scene to battle the blaze that lasted hours.
Michael Foods’ parent company Post Holdings said the fire affected less than 5% of the layer population of its internal and external layer network but implied that the damages could be well into the millions.
“The impact of the fire on Post’s financial results, if any, has yet to be determined. To the extent the property and/or business interruption loss exceeds $2.5 million, Post management expects to be reimbursed under insurance policies; however, costs may be incurred in different reporting periods than any insurance recovery,” Post Holdings stated.
Bloomfield City councilman Steve Barney reported to Norfolk Daily News that the fire destroyed a relatively new cage-free facility that the company had built.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.