Overheated motor possible cause of Lebanon farm fire that killed - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Overheated motor possible cause of Lebanon farm fire that killed 85,000 chickens

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A fire erupted at the KofKoff Egg Farm in Lebanon on Tuesday. (iWitness photo) A fire erupted at the KofKoff Egg Farm in Lebanon on Tuesday. (iWitness photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
Investigators returned to the scene on Wednesday. (WFSB photo) Investigators returned to the scene on Wednesday. (WFSB photo)
LEBANON, CT (WFSB) -

More than 24 hours after fire sweeps through a massive chicken coop in Lebanon killing 80,000 hens, crews continue to investigate the deadly blaze.

Investigators said that 85,000 chickens were killed at one of New England's largest egg farms. 

On Tuesday, smoke could be seen for miles at the Kofkoff Egg Farm in Lebanon. However, more than 24 hours later, the fire was still smoldering after flames consumed an 80 by 400 foot chicken coop. 

Fire officials said about 150 firefighters were called to the scene around 6 p.m. in what was described as one of the largest responses the town saw in years. Twenty-five departments, some as far away as Mystic, responded to the property on Mack Road.

It took them several hours to get the fire under control.

"Our chief took quick action last night and tore on either side tore the conveyor open and we were able to get plenty of water in there to keep the fire in the coop itself," Lebanon Fire Marshal Scott Schuett said 

Investigators said a stream of 20 tanker trucks had to transport water to the farm because there were no fire hydrants in the area.

"[There was] black, billowing smoke in the sky and I knew it was massive, and I was probably at least 8 miles from the scene," said Robert Potter, an eyewitness.

KofKoff is the largest supplier of eggs in Connecticut. 

No one was hurt during the fire.

Exhausted firefighters said on Wednesday that they continued to douse hot spots in the middle of the destroyed coop. 

"We're getting a piece of excavating equipment in so that we could start taking the stuff off by layers and take a look at what's going on in there," Schuett said. "[We] can't do much of anything until we get that set up." 

Lebanon Fire Lt. Jay Schall said the department happened to practice the night before for an event of this size.

"We had a lot of resources coming in and our goal was to have a lot of water flowing and keep that water flowing which we did."

Officials said, however, that there was a fire at the farm on the same day 27 years ago that killed more than 200,000 chickens and caused millions of dollars worth of damage.

"I feel bad for the owners," Potter said. "I hope they can come back from this." 

The cause remains under investigation, but authorities said the motors that control automated systems such as conveyors for feed, manure and egg production over heated.

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