×

Chickens lost in Charlemont coop fire

  • Firefighters drew water from a nearby stream along Rt 8A to fight a barn fire Friday morning on Mountain Road in Charlemont. April 6, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Firefighters pour water on the ashes of a small barn used for poultry that burned Friday morning on Mountain Road in Charlemont. April 6, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—

  • Firefighters pour water on the ashes of a small barn used for poultry that burned Friday morning on Mountain Road in Charlemont. April 6, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Most of the chickens got out of a barn fire Friday morning on Mountain Road in Charlemont. April 6, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Firefighters extinguish a barn fire Friday morning on Mountain Road in Charlemont. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Most of the chickens got out of a barn fire Friday morning on Mountain Road in Charlemont. April 6, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Firefighters drew water from a nearby stream along Rt 8A to fight a barn fire Friday morning on Mountain Road in Charlemont. April 6, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Friday, April 06, 2018

CHARLEMONT — Janice Boudreau took a different road to work Friday morning, which was a good thing — because she spotted flames coming from her friend’s property and was able to alert Jessica Van Steensburg before the fire spread from the chicken coop into the woods beyond it.

Six fire departments responded to the burning structure at 39 Mountain Road, containing the fire that killed 16 incubating chicks and four or five grown chickens, according to Van Steensburg. However, 16 adult hens made it out of the burning coop and appeared unharmed.

“I’m happy the loss was minimal,” said Van Steensburg as firefighters hosed down the embers of the smoldering coop. “The fact that Janice was taking a different route today, and that it’s not as windy as yesterday, and that these guys got here within minutes — kept the fire from spreading into the woods.”

Van Steensburg, the executive director of Just Roots community farm organization in Greenfield, happened to be working at home Friday, which was also fortunate. She had corralled the remaining chickens into a fenced enclosure and was preparing to move them into a second building on the property for the night.

Van Steensburg says she suspects the fire may have been caused by a heat lamp used for the incubating chicks — because it was the only electrical appliance inside. Ironically, she had taken the incubating chicks to work with her Thursday, because her Charlemont home had lost electricity and the chicks needed to stay warm. “I took the box, the heat lamp and the chicks, and joked it was ‘take your chicks to work’ day — because, at Just Roots, it was fine to bring them,” she said.

Van Steensburg said she did not know how old the destroyed structure was, but that it had once been used as a turkey coop.

Charlemont Fire Chief Dennis Annear said the fire was reported around 10:48 a.m. Charlemont, Buckland, Colrain, Ashfield, Heath, and Shelburne Falls fire departments responded.