Thousands of turkeys lost in Wapello barn fire

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WAPELLO, Iowa (KWQC) - Several thousand turkeys perished in a massive barn fire that crews spent hours fighting at Gentle Ben's Turkey Farm on Thursday.

Courtesy of Wapello Fire and Rescue

According to Wapello Fire and Rescue, crews were dispatched to 7530 K Avenue, southwest of Wapello at approximately 11:11 am on April 20, 2017. A farm employee had discovered the fire while working in an adjacent building. By the time fire crews were alerted, heavy smoke was visible from several miles away, so mutual aid was immediately requested.

Upon arrival, crews found the 40' x 250' barn completely engulfed in flames and the roof collapsed. After gas and electric lines were secured, a backhoe was mobilized to the scene to remove parts of the roof so crews could fight the fire underneath.

Firefighters were on scene until 3:52 pm. They say the fire burned rapidly due to high winds and a lot of fresh sawdust bedding.

Damages are estimated at $300,000 and a loss of 10,700 turkeys. The same building caught fire in February due to a malfunctioning overhead heater, but that fire caused minimal damage to the building and its contents.

This fire remains under investigation but is not considered suspicious. No injuries were reported.

Wapello Fire and Rescue was assisted by Oakville Fire Department, Morning Sun Fire Department, Columbus Junction Fire Department, Wapello Community Ambulance, City of Wapello Public Works, Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wapello Police Department.