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300,000 hens killed in fire at Otsego egg farm

Huge billows of black smoke poured out of the barn that was on fire.
Credit: Union Enterprise/Ryan Lewis
Photo by Union Enterprise/Ryan Lewis

OTSEGO, Mich — A fire broke out at Vande Bunte Eggs in Otsego on Friday, and it burned one of the egg barns, which housed hundreds of thousands of egg-laying hens. 

About 300,000 hens died in the fire, a spokesperson for the company said. The farm, which is operated by Konos, is on 8th Street south of the village of Martin. Between two barns, there were 550,000 hens at the time of the fire. 

The fire is now contained, but one barn is a complete loss.

No human lives were lost and there were minor injuries reported. The farm employs 50 people, and they are all safe and accounted for. 

“The first priority at all of our farms is the welfare and safety of our employees and our hens,” said Rob Knecht, vice president of operations at Konos. “We are thankful for the work of all the fire departments that helped today. Their quick actions kept our farm safe and we are eager to resume production tomorrow.”

Emergency responders from Otsego worked to contain the fire and 15 other communities brought water to the farm. This combined effort protected one of the barns, which saved the lives of 250,000 hens. 

Vande Bunte Eggs supplies more than 13 million cage free eggs per year to stores and restaurants across Michigan. 

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Konos said they do not anticipate their egg supply to be interrupted nor will there be a change to the price of eggs.

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