Building destroyed in Sparboe fire Tuesday

HUMBOLDT – A maintenance shop and the equipment inside were destroyed in a fire at an egg-production facility near the Webster and Humboldt county borders Tuesday morning.

The fire at Sparboe Farms, 2088 120th St., was reported around 8 a.m.

Badger Fire Chief Glen Westling said the fire was discovered by a farm worker who had gotten a piece of equipment out of the shop.

“He was next to the feed plant when he smelled something and went to look at what it was,” Westling said.

When the worker saw the fire, he called the Fire Department.

“It appeared to have started up high toward the ceiling of the shop,” Westling said. “When we arrived the roof was already starting to collapse in, but the side walls were still intact.”

Because of the wind, Westling said fire departments from Clare, Vincent and Humboldt also responded to the scene in case the fire spread. However, Westling said the blaze was contained to the maintenance shop.

“It did not get into the laying building where the hens are,” he said.

It appears the fire was started by a heater malfunction.

“The maintenance shop is totally destroyed, along with all the equipment inside,” Westling said. “There was one payloader and possibly a skid-loader in there, as well as compressors and tools.”

Webster County Chief Deputy Rod Strait, who was also on the scene, said although the smoke was blown across U.S. Highway 169, it didn’t have to be closed. The Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State Patrol also responded to help with traffic control.

Britta McGuire, a communications representative for Sparboe, said the fire was put out quickly.

“No hens or employees were at risk, and we’re very happy about that,” she said.

Operations at the facility were back to normal by the early afternoon.

“We’re working quickly to be back to business as usually today,” she said. “We had a great response from the fire departments and utility company.”