Strong winds fueled the fire which has destroyed an important chicken processing plant in Dawn-Euphemia.
Just after noon, calls started coming in about flames ripping through Brennan Poultry on Mosside Line. Dawn-Euphemia Deputy Chief Scott Gawley, who lives close by, alerted the department to the seriousness of the fire – a wooden and steel structure, dry conditions and high winds from the south.
Dawn-Euphemia Fire Chief Don Ewing says there was little they could do. “There was no stopping it,” he tells The Independent. “We got really high wind conditions and it (the fire) started on south side, and the wind took it.”
Thick black smoke could be seen from as far away as Alvinston and Florence. Firefighters from Dawn-Euphemia, Oil Springs/North Enniskillen and Brooke Fire Service worked together to contain the blaze and two hours after the call came in were still putting out hotspots.
Ewing says nothing is left.
While Ewing says the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined yet, the owners had been working on site cutting the lawn before the fire started. A neighbour – Tom Parkins – said they’d parked the lawn mower in a shed near the plant as they had done every time they had cut the grass before on the fourth generation farm.
Parkins had spoken with the Brennans and says they were devastated by the loss.
And he says the community will also feel the hit from Monday’s fire. It’s one of the main processing facilities for poultry in Lambton and Chatham-Kent.
Farmers are able to raise up to 3,000 chickens per year without quota and many people bring the birds to Brennans for processing. Parkins says about 2,000 birds can be processed at the plant a week.
“All these birds are being raised and fed right now. And how are you going to get them into people’s freezers when the people bought them?” said Parkins, adding there is only one other processing plant nearby. It only takes 500 birds a week.
“They’re already market size and it is going to be 30 degrees Celsius tomorrow (Tuesday) – what some people are going to do?” he says.
“This is gonna be a devastating to the community.”