Three fire departments responded in full force—with backup from four others—to a turkey barn on fire in northern Chippewa County on Friday evening, May 15.
The fire was reported around 6:45 p.m. by a neighbor, said New Auburn Fire Chief Thomas Bischel. New Auburn, Bloomer and Chetek fire departments responded with full manpower. Tenders to haul water were provided by Sand Creek, Eagle Point, Tilden and Cornell fire departments. Bloomer’s aerial fire truck was on scene, spraying water from above.
The turkey farm, owned by Jennie-O, is about five miles northeast of New Auburn on CTH F at the intersection of 280th Avenue and 90th Street. The northernmost barn was on fire.
The entire west end was completely involved in the fire when firefighters first arrived on scene, Bischel said on Monday, May 18. The fire spread and damaged much of the rest of the 700-foot-long building.
The size of the building created a challenge for firefighters, but having a good response from the departments that were called helped with controlling and subduing the fire, Bischel said. Firefighters were there for seven hours, he added.
Bischel said there were no injuries and damage was limited to just that structure. The cause was undetermined as of Monday.
There were turkeys inside the barn at the time of the fire, according to a source familiar with the matter.
A message was sent Monday afternoon to Hormel Inc., which owns Jennie-O, but a reply was not received as of press time.