Merced County firefighter taken to hospital after blaze at vacant Foster Farms coop in Delhi

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comNovember 11, 2013 

— A Merced County firefighter was taken to the hospital with minor injuries Monday afternoon after battling a large commercial blaze at an abandoned Foster Farms chicken coop.

The wood-frame building, located at 14519 Collier Road in Delhi, caught fire around 12:30 p.m. Monday, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Gabriel Santos.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Santos said Monday the circumstances appeared suspicious. No other injuries were reported and the building was vacant, Santos said.

Three fire engines and 23 firefighters from the Cal Fire-administered Merced County Fire Department responded to the call Monday. The blaze, which caused an estimated $2,000 in equipment damage, was contained within 30 minutes.

Crews remained on scene for about two hours after containment, Santos said.

The firefighter sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital with symptoms of “general weakness,” according to Santos.

A quick response by firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to large haystacks and neighboring buildings, he said.

“We were able to keep the fire inside the building of origin and not let it spread to other buildings,” Santos said.

No animals or livestock were inside the building, he said.

“This was an old poultry house that has not been used for many years,”Ira Brill, director of corporate communications for Foster Farms, wrote in an emailed statement. “No chickens were involved or in any way endangered. The cause is under investigation.”

Anyone with information about the blaze is asked to call the Merced County Fire Department at (209) 385-7344.

Sun-Star staff writer Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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