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The cause of the fire in Otsego is unknown, but the investigation is ongoing.

January 30, 2020

1 Min Read
flames from a fire
BARN FIRE: A large fire Jan. 3 at Konos Vande Bunte egg farm in Otsego, Mich., killed 300,000 chickens. in-future/getty

Compiled by Michigan Farmer

About 300,000 laying hens were killed in a large fire Jan. 3 that destroyed a barn at a poultry farm in Otsego, Mich., about 25 miles north of Kalamazoo, according to a report by Channel 3 (WWMT-TV) of West Michigan.

Multiple fire departments were called to a cage-free poultry farm owned by Konos Vande Bunte Eggs after a fire started about 11 a.m.

It was reported that the 50 people who work at the farm all were safe, although some suffered from minor smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

Fire crews had to truck in water to fight the fire over several hours. They were able to prevent one of the two barns at the farm from damage and saved 250,000 hens. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the investigation is ongoing.

According to the history page of the company website, Konos Vande Bunte Eggs has offices in Otsego; Martin, Mich.; and Grant Park, Ill. The company was founded in 1946 by Howard Vande Bunte in Forest Grove, Mich.

According to a Dec. 17 article published by the Animal Welfare Institute, the five barn fires with the highest number of farm animal deaths (as reported by the media) in 2019 all involved birds:

April 30. 250,000 hens at Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Iona County, Mich.; cause unknown

April 2. 37,000 hens at A & L Farms in Upper Bern, Pa.; cause reported as faulty ventilation fan component

June 7. 25,000 meat chickens at a Wayne Farms contract farm in Goshen, Ala.; cause reported as arson

April 5. 22,000 meat chickens at a Tyson Foods contract farm in Tecumseh, Neb.; cause reported as arson

June 4. 22,000 hens at a farm in Winston County, Miss.; cause unknown

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