Illinois Coop Fire Kills Fowl

For the second time in two weeks, an area chicken coop caught fire, this time killing all the poultry inside.

About 40 chickens and four turkeys were killed when a Lake Villa barn caught fire Wednesday afternoon. A lamp used to warm the animals apparently started the blaze, said Lake Villa Fire Chief Frank Slazes.

The barn at 1921 Cedar Lake Road began burning around 3:30 p.m., said homeowner Peggy Fuller, who noticed smoke when she went to feed and water her animals. Fuller said she rushed to the barn and opened the door, only to see flames and more smoke coming from the east side of the large barn.

Fuller said she suspected that a larger turkey may have knocked over one of three 250-watt heating lamps inside the barn, where the poultry was left to run free.

When the fire hit the dry hay inside the barn, it spread quickly and large flames were visible within a few minutes, Slazes said.

Four fire engines from Lake Villa responded to the blaze, which was extinguished within an hour. Lake Villa police closed off parts of Monaville and Cedar Lake roads while firefighters battled and investigated the fire.

Crews were able to put out the fire before flames reached the west side of the barn, which contained furniture and racing bikes.

Slazes said he did not believe any chickens made it out alive, and none survived inside the barn.

Wednesday's fire was similar to a blaze that killed an unknown amount of chickens near Gurnee last month.

On Jan. 17 a small chicken coop in unincorporated Gurnee burned to the ground. The homeowner told firefighters 100 chickens were in that barn, but those on the scene said the number was likely a small fraction of that. A wood-burning stove was originally suspected of starting that fire.

Copyright 2006, Chicago Sun-Times Inc.