A massive fire erupted Thursday at an industrial-scale poultry plant west of Bloomfield, Nebraska.

One of the barns was destroyed and 400,000 chickens were killed, according to information provided to State Sen. Tim Gragert, who represents Bloomfield in the Nebraska Legislature.

The facility, operated by Michael Foods, produces eggs. No employees were injured, Pat Melena, vice president, told the Knox County News at the scene.

The fire was so intense that a National Weather Service satellite detected the heat from 22,236 miles above the Earth, said Corey Mead, a weather service meteorologist.

The fire began in the late afternoon and lasted into the evening, Bloomfield City Councilman Steve Barney said.

Multiple firetrucks hauled water from town to the plant, he said. Fire crews on scene included Bloomfield/Lindy, Creighton, Osmond, Crofton, Wausa and Plainview, the Knox County News reported. The state fire marshal also was on scene. Tankers from Central Valley Ag assisted.

Councilman Ray Lush said the entire community pitched in.

“Lots of local businesses brought food and drinks to the fire hall for the many volunteer firemen and businesspeople that hauled water,” he said.

Barney said Michael Foods has about 20 barns at the site and about 4 million chickens. The barn that burned was relatively new and was designed to produce eggs from cage-free chickens.

The plant is important to the local economy, employing about 125 to 150 people, he said.

“It’s a big deal for town of 1,100,” he said.

Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email: nancy.gaarder@owh.com

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