Two barns were destroyed and an estimated 165,000 hens died Saturday in a fire at the Hickman’s Family Farms location in Arlington, about an hour west of Phoenix, according to officials.
Firefighters responded to a report of the fire at the farm around 1 p.m. and were able to contain the second-alarm fire by about 4 p.m., said Sarah Mendoza, a spokesperson for Buckeye Valley Fire District.
An unidentified man was hospitalized in stable condition for smoke inhalation, Mendoza said. No firefighters were injured.
Multiple fire agencies including Buckeye Fire Valley District, Arizona Fire and Medical Authority and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the fire, Mendoza said.
A spokesperson for Hickman’s Family Farms said the fire started at Barn 5 and spread to Barn 6. Losses include the hens that died and equipment and supplies such as food, water, conveyor systems, watering systems, lighting and computer technology.
“It’s super unfortunate — it’s devastating to us,” said Sharman Hickman, a spokesperson for Hickman’s Family Farms. But Hickman said they are grateful no lives were lost from the fire.
Hickman said the loss will not impact anyone buying eggs and that shelves will remain fully stocked from tomorrow through “way past” Easter.
The fire on the Arlington farm, which has a total of 26 chicken houses, was contained by Saturday afternoon, according to Hickman. The family won’t know the cost of damage until the investigation is complete, Hickman said.
“Of course we wanted those eggs to be able to have for families for their Easter celebrations, but first and foremost we need to thank our first responders and staff that tried to do everything they could to save our birds, save each other, making sure everybody was as safe as possible,” she said.
Next, Hickman said the farm will conduct cleanup and monitor the nearby barns to make sure the birds don’t have any smoke damage and to make sure there are no disruptions to the feed, water or air in the barns. Hickman said they will also make counseling available to their staff.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to Mendoza.