Fire Destroys Barn On Turkey Farm in Richland County

Lelm Turkey Farm in Walcott is home to 30,000 turkeys

WALCOTT, N.D. — Fire departments from Walcott, Colfax, and Christine, North Dakota were at the scene of a fire at a turkey farm. The fire, at the Lelm Turkey farm east of Walcott, put thousands of turkeys in danger and destroyed one of the barns.

“The building was a complete loss,” Festus Mickelson, the Chief at the Colfax Fire Department said.

This farm, home to over 30,000 turkeys, required assistance from three area fire departments to put out the blaze, but according to Mickelson extinguishing the flames was no simple task.

“I think we got paged probably between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., so five hours,” Mickelson said. “We’re about done. We’re just doing some mop up right now and putting out a few hot spots.”

These fire departments had a lot of work to do, though, in that five hour span. According to Richland County Emergency Manager Brett Lambrecht, the barn that collapsed in the fire contained all the power and water equipment needed to keep the turkeys warm and hydrated.

“We were in a time crunch to put out the fire and also to get the water and electricity hooked up to the turkeys because turkeys are supposed to have water like every three hours and to feed every eight hours,” Lambrecht said. “We have 15,000 turkeys in two other buildings. We have mature ones in the one building on the south end and then on the north end there’s 15,000 chicks in that one.”

Fortunately, when asked if any of the birds were caught in the blaze….

“There were no turkeys in the barn,” Mickelson said. “There was no poultry inside at all.”

Electricity has since been restored so all of the turkeys and chicks are safe and sound.  Work is continuing to be done to restore the water supply at Lelm Farms, east of Walcott.

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