Fire at Tooele County egg farm kills 300,000 chickens

ERDA, Utah — About 300,000 chickens died Tuesday in a massive fire at an egg farm in Tooele County.

More than 100 firefighters fought the blaze, which began Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. The firefighting efforts were hampered by shifting winds and lack of water. Trucks and eventually helicopters were used to bring in water to douse the flames, but two hen houses were destroyed in the blaze. About 150,000 gallons of water were used to finally contain the fire at 1:30 p.m.

“Water is the biggest challenge in a small community and we wish we had more of it,” said John Stout, North Tooele County Fire Marshall. “You do the best that you can with what you have available.”

The Fassio Egg Farm is a family-owned company that was started in 1915 and has about 80 employees. Corby Larsen is the vice president of operations and said it was tough to see the buildings and chickens go up in flames.

“Our company has a history of taking care of its employees,” said Larsen. “I’m sure we will do the same here but we’ve got a lot to do to get back on track.”

Firefighters also had a difficult time getting inside the buildings because they are full of machinery and cages “It’s just a maze of chicken cages and conveyer belts with eggs going from one end to the other,” said John Stout, North Tooele County Fire Marshall.

Authorities have not determined the cause of the fire but suspect it may have been caused by the machinery.

The following agencies and companies helped the North Tooele County Fire District fight the fire and/or brought water: Grantsville Fire Department, Tooele City Fire Department, Utah State Fire Marshal, State of Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands - Southwest Area, Bureau of Land Management - Utah, Tooele County Emergency Management, Tooele County Dispatch Center, Tooele County Sheriff's Office, Tooele Army Depot Fire Department, Terra Fire Department, Stockton Utah Fire Department, Utah Highway Patrol, Tooele County Roads, Deseret Peak and RWB Sod.

VIDEO: See a sky view of the Erda egg farm fire here.