Fire damages Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Ionia Co.

A courtesy photo taken by a neighboring business owner shows the plume of dark smoke rising from a fire at Herbruck's Poultry Farm in Ionia County. (Big Tom's Maple Syrup)


ORANGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Flames broke out at Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Ionia County for the fourth time in just 15 years on Friday.

Dispatchers said the call came in around 11:48 a.m. Friday for a fire at the egg producer’s facility, located on Portland Road just west of M-66 in Orange Township, south of Ionia.

Seven fire departments were called in to battle the flames, according to dispatchers.

“Everything here is big — so when we have a call, we know where to go,” Berlin-Orange Fire Chief Matthew Bennett told 24 Hour News 8 at the scene.

Herbruck’s President Greg Herbruck says the fire started in an egg storage cooler at the farm. He said no one was injured and all of the farm’s hens are safe.

Herbruck said first-responders did a tremendous job containing the fire to the cooler area of the facility.

“We are truly thankful for the first responders in Ionia County who quickly responded to this fire and contained the damage to our facility,”  Herbruck said in a Friday afternoon news release.

“(It was) very critical,” Bennett said of containing the fire. “What is there, two million birds or something here.”

Drone 8 flew above the scene Friday afternoon for a bird’s-eye view of the fire damage, which was extensive.

Bennett said it’s unclear what sparked the fire, but it isn’t suspicious.

Herbruck’s is the largest producer of eggs in the state and provides for all McDonald’s restaurants east of the Mississippi River. It’s unclear how many eggs were lost in the fire.

Flames also broke out at the property last year and in 2015, but those were only minor fires.

In a 2005 fire at the facility, a quarter of a million hens were killed and the total financial loss was estimated between $4 million and $5 million.