50,000 chickens die in shed fire after ‘accidental ignition’ at poultry houses

Roughly 50,000 hens were ‘destroyed’ in a huge blaze that started in a chicken shed at two large poultry houses.

Dozens of firefighters fought the blaze which broke out on Friday, leaving tens of thousands of birds dead at the two buildings.

On Saturday, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service continued to monitor the situation after spending hours tackling the fire in Driffield, East Yorkshire.

The fire service has now concluded it was “accidental ignition” and said 50,000 hens had been “destroyed”.

A spokeswoman for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said: “It was out by [Saturday] afternoon.

“We did a revisit at 4.30pm and it was all fine.

“Full inspection carried out at 5.23pm yesterday – all safe, all out. That was the last time the fire engines attended.

“The fire investigation concluded yesterday evening and decided it was accidental ignition.

“[It was] two poultry houses, approximately 100m by 20m, each containing 25,000 hens destroyed by fire.”

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service was first alerted at 6.07pm on Friday to the blaze. At one point, 45 firefighters were in attendance.

A spokeswoman for the fire service confirmed on Saturday afternoon that they had left the scene but continued to monitor the situation.

“We have left,” she said at the time. “We are just making the odd visit every now and again to make sure everything is safe.

“We got the call at 6.07pm yesterday evening and initially two engines were dispatched.

“When they arrived, they asked for a third engine at 6.23pm.

“At 6.35pm, they asked for a fourth and then they had a main pump six at 6.54pm with an aerial appliance as well.”

She continued: “Six engines [attended] and the aerial ladder from Hull and the supporting engine for that.

“The fire was actually in the chicken shed. It spread to a further chicken shed.”

She said they had jets on the next building.

“[We were told that] the poultry unit was containing approximately 25,000 birds,” she said.

“The fire had spread so they had covering jets on the next building.”

It comes after dramatic drone footage shared on Twitter on Friday evening by the fire service showed the devastation of the blaze.

Driffield resident Barry Hughes told Hull Live he could see smoke from the other side of the town on Friday evening.

“Me and my partner noticed black smoke in the distance from our house off York Road, the other side of Driffield,” he said. “The smoke appeared to be in the direction we were travelling, so we drove as close as we could onto Skerne Road, we realised it was a chicken farm.

“From our view, we could not see any high flames, but thick bellowing smoke. Police had closed Skerne Road at the junction of Elm Road.

“The smoke was coming very fast and extremely powerful towards the sky, quite a scary site! Lots of people were crowding around too.”

Tony Barron, described the blaze as a “major fire” and said at about 8pm: “Skerne Road closed as fire appliance are relay pumping water from Driffield Beck up to the scene.

“At least seven fire engines are at the incident and fire-fighters rolling out many meters of hose reels to pump more water up from the beck.”

Jack Wilkinson said homeowners in the area were closing windows due to the smoke.

“Driving from Harrogate to our holiday home at South Cliff Bridlington, we saw thick smoke in the distance,” he said. “We decided to go take a look, passed four fire engines, two police cars driving into the site. Many homeowners closing windows.”