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Huge loss


Huge loss

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OVER 7 000 TURKEYS belonging to poultry giant Chickmont Foods Ltd went up in smoke yesterday.

And while Barbadians would have preferred those turkeys to be roasted in their ovens, 7 600 two-week old poults were instantly barbecued when fire swept through Pen 2 of ZRS Farms – a subsidiary of Chickmont – just after 4 p.m.

Another pen situated nearby escaped damage.

Thick smoke could be seen billowing from the Ridge Road, Christ Church farm, making the road impassable for motorists as deputy Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard led two fire tenders and one water tanker to the blaze. On the scene were two senior fire officers and ten firefighters. They brought the fire, which also swept to a nearby canefield, under control around 5:30 p.m.

Divisional Officer Tyrone Trotman said further investigations would be carried out to determine the cause of the fire.

Despite the incident, operations manager at the farm, Trevor Gunby, gave an assurance the fire would not affect their ability to meet the high Christmas demand for turkey.

“There won’t be any shortage. We have enough turkeys here to carry us through to the Christmas season,” he told the media confidently.

However, while not putting a figure on the damage, he admitted that the loss of the turkeys, along with the damage to the pen, was a huge blow.

“The pen is totally gone. It is a 400-foot house which had 7 600 turkeys and they are obviously all barbecued at this point.

“Obviously it is a big loss and we will have to look at it tomorrow [today] and how it pertains to the future. Then we will be able to assess the damage,” Gunby explained.

He said due to the extensive damage they would most likely be setting their sights on rebuilding for next year.

Rupert Carew, one of three workers employed at the farm, explained that he was carrying out his final checks for the day when the fire suddenly broke out.

“Before we finish work we go and check the pens. I went and cleaned the pen and everything was fine. But on my way back out, when I got to the corner I saw black smoke.

“But by the time I ran to the office to call the boss, the fire had already swept through the whole farm and there was nothing we could do,” Carew added.


Please read the full story in today’s MIDWEEK NATION, or in the eNATION edition.