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134,000 chicks believed dead in poultry barn blaze near Hawley

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Fire crews battled large fire at a barn Sunday afternoon south of Lake Park. It was not immediately clear if any animals were in the poultry barn at the time of the fire. (Dave Olson / The Forum) 3 / 4
Amos Baer talks about a fire that destroyed a chicken barn and thousands of chicks on Sunday. (Dave Olson / The Forum)4 / 4

HAWLEY, Minn. – Up to 134,000 chicks are believed dead after a large fire Sunday afternoon at a chicken barn near here.

The blaze was reported at about 4:30 p.m. about 7 miles south and east of Hawley. Smoke from the fire was visible from as far away as Glyndon.

Clay County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Empting said the fire was called in by a passerby. No one was on the property at the time. The large poultry barn is owned by Baer Poultry Co.

Owner Amos Baer said 134,000 young chicks were in the barn and he believed most of them are dead. No humans were injured in the fire, which Baer said he did not know the cause of.

Empting said the state fire marshal has been asked to investigate the fire because the cause of the blaze was not immediately apparent.

By 5:30 p.m., crews appeared to have the fire under control and were continuing to work at the scene. Two other large buildings near the barn were being kept under watch by fire crews, who pumped water from a nearby slough to fight the blaze.

Fire departments from Hawley, Lake Park, Barnesville, Ulen and Hitterdal responded to the fire.

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