Sprinklers minimize fire damage at Gerber’s Poultry plant

A tragic fire was averted at the Gerber’s Poultry plant in Kidron, Ohio, thanks to the sprinkler system at the plant.

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A fire at a Gerber's Poultry plant in Kidron, Ohio, did minimal damage, thanks to the building's sprinkler system. (Kidron Volunteer Fire Department)
A fire at a Gerber's Poultry plant in Kidron, Ohio, did minimal damage, thanks to the building's sprinkler system. (Kidron Volunteer Fire Department)

A tragic fire was averted at the Gerber’s Poultry plant in Kidron, Ohio, thanks to the sprinkler system at the plant.

The Kidron Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the plant at 11:14 p.m. on February 22, after a fire apparently broke out in the boiler room. According to the department’s Facebook page, the first units to arrive found water flow from the plant’s sprinkler system and an active fire from a pallet of material.

“This is why we encourage sprinkler systems. … Crews made quick work of ensuring the materials were extinguished, although the sprinkler had fairly well kept it contained,” the department’s post read.

According to a report from the Columbus Dispatch, there was nobody at the plant at the time and no injuries resulted. The fire was out by 11:31 p.m., but crews remained at the scene until around 12:38 the following morning to do an overhaul and cleanup.

Damages were estimated to be between $5,000 and $10,000.

The incident was investigated by the Wayne County Fire Investigation team, and according to the Dispatch, the team determined that the fire was caused by a malfunctioning heating unit, which ignited materials in the vicinity.

Gerber’s Poultry, according to figures from 2018, is the 26th largest broiler company in the United States. Founded in 1952, Gerber’s Poultry is a family-owned company. Its chickens are raised on Amish family farms, are raised on a vegetarian diet and are raised without antibiotics.

According to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, Gerber’s produced 2.16 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2019, which was a 22% increase when compared to its production in 2018.

The company operates one slaughter plant, one further processing plant and one hatchery. Capital improvements to that hatchery were made in 2014, allowed the hatchery’s weekly capacity to expand by 186,000 eggs.

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