Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
By Margie Wuebker
Fort Recovery barn fire destroys 18,000 chickens
  A raging fire near Fort Recovery on Tuesday night destroyed a poultry barn and killed an estimated 17,000 to 18,000 chickens inside.
Firefighters from Southwest Mercer and Coldwater fire departments responded to the farm of Jeff and Ellan Sudhoff, 560 state Route 219, after a passerby spotted flames and alerted the owners.
The 911 log at the Mercer County Sheriff's Office listed a call from Ellan Sudhoff at 7:54 p.m. People reported the Washington Township blaze illuminated the sky as nightfall approached.
"The barn was pretty well engulfed when we arrived on the scene," Southwest assistant fire chief Dan Wendel told The Daily Standard. "Our efforts were focused on saving a generator and an egg cooler area at the north end of the building."
Excavating equipment arrived at the scene, located at the intersection of state Routes 219 and 49, during the height of the fire to separate the egg-laying operation from the cooler area.
Several walls collapsed as the fire raged sending a shower of sparks skyward. Fortunately there were no adjacent buildings at risk, according to Wendel.
Firefighters set up a tanker relay ferrying water from a farm pond approximately one-quarter mile away. Once the load was discharged into drop tanks, the trucks quickly returned to the fill site.
Wendel estimates approximately 35 firefighters came to the scene but he was unsure regarding the number of trucks. The last unit returned to quarters around midnight.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Wendel is uncertain where the fire originated given the extent of damage. No dollar figure has been assigned to the loss as yet, and the Sudhoffs reportedly have insurance coverage.
A Coldwater unit of Mercer County Emergency Medical Services remained on standby throughout the evening, but fortunately its services were not needed as firefighters endured hot, humid weather conditions.
Mercer County Emergency Response Volunteers handled traffic control.
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