Federal agents assist egg farm fire investigation

By The Associated Press

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting in the investigation of a fire last week at a Farwell egg farm causing an estimated $20 million in damage and killing nearly a million chickens.

According to a press release from the ATF in Lubbock, a national response team along with agents from the Lubbock field office have joined the Texas State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Parmer County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.

The ATF team is to offering its expertise to federal, state and local investigators at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents, the release said.

The fire at Cal-Maine Foods egg production plant was reported around 5:30 p.m. July 9.

“The NRT is being brought into the fire investigation because of the difficulties presented when investigating a fire of this size,” the release said.

“Five separate buildings, each approximately 24,000 square feet, were destroyed; and four fire fighters were injured from heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation during suppression efforts.”

According to the release, teams work alongside state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence.