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Four chicks die when fire guts Darlington chicken house Saturday

Investigators say a fire caused by a heat lamp falling into bedding extensively damaged a chicken house in the Darlington area early Saturday evening.
Investigators say a fire caused by a heat lamp falling into bedding extensively damaged a chicken house in the Darlington area early Saturday evening. (Photo courtesy Office of the State Fire Marshal)

Investigators say a four chicks died in a fire caused by a heat lamp that was knocked over by the birds and fell into bedding, causing extensive damaged to a chicken house in the Darlington area early Saturday evening.

The fire was reported at approximately 5:53 p.m. in the 2200 block of Price Road on property owned by William and Margaret Archer, according to a notice of investigation from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

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The Darlington Volunteer Fire Company responded, with 35 firefighters needing an hour to contain the blaze, which collapsed part of the 10 by 15 foot, two-story structure, based on photographs from the scene.

Investigators said the fire originated in an interior nesting area and was reported by a neighbor.

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No injuries were reported to fire personnel. Damage to the structure is estimated at $70,000 and damage to contents is estimated at $30,000.

The four chicks were on their own in the house. Two roosters had fought earlier, and one killed the other, according to Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire.

The owners then put down the surviving rooster, as well as a hen that had been injured during the fight. The chicks, left to their own devices, were flitting around the house and knocked the heat lamp into the bedding, “subsequently igniting the bedding the remainder of the chicken coop,” Alkire said Tuesday.

This story is updated from an earlier version.

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