Update: Gallery - 13,000 chickens killed in ‘cruel’ barn fire at Sparlings Farm in Felsted

Sparlings Farm where the fire broke out

Sparlings Farm where the fire broke out - Credit: Archant

A poultry barn, containing thousands of chickens and an egg production equipment, was destroyed in an overnight blaze at a farm in Braintree Road, Felsted.

Around 13,000 chickens died in the suspicious barn fire at Sparlings Farm.

The fire broke out shortly after midnight and lasted more than 12 hours.

Detective inspector Alan Stevens, of Essex Police, said the owners are “devastated” and described the incident as “cruel”.

He said: “Naturally, the owners are devastated at the loss of a significant part of their business, and at the cruel manner in which their animals died.

“We are working with the fire service to investigate the cause of the blaze and are appealing for witnesses who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area at around the time of the fire to contact us.”

The blaze was reported at midnight and five fire engines in total were called to the scene.

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Crews surrounded the barn, which measured 100 metres by 20 metres, but it collapsed and was “totally destroyed”, a brigade spokesman said.

Assistant divisional officer Darren Fearn, of the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said: “When crews arrived they were faced with a large wooden building which was completely engulfed. Crews did an excellent job in containing the fire and preventing it spreading but it was already too late for all the chickens inside.

“We believe that around 13,000 chickens were killed in the fire.

“Firefighters remained at the scene throughout the night tackling the fire. We still have crews on scene now turning over and damping down to ensure no hot-spots remain.

“We have launched a joint investigation with the Police to establish the cause of the fire.”

The fire had been completely put out by 12.30pm.

Forensic investigations have started.

People with information relating to the blaze are asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.