STONINGTON — More than 4,000 three-day old chicks perished when fire destroyed a large barn early this morning on the farm of John A. Krieger near Stonington.
Firemen from four communities battled the blaze for more than three hours in subfreezing temperatures, but were unable to save the structure. Firemen were able to save a small shed across the driveway from the barn. The shed was damaged slightly as was a cement block building used as a garage.
Mr. and Mrs. Krieger, with the assistance of neighbors and firemen, were able to remove nine cows from the burning barn. Cows were herded into a nearby field. The blaze destroyed a new furnace which was stored in the barn. In addition, a quantity of hay, oats and barley and a new hay wagon were ruined.
Firemen from Stonington, Sunbury, Elysburg and Overlook battled the blaze after receiving calls from the Krieger family. Firemen were under the direction of Anthony Yonkoskie, Stonington fire chief. The fire was noticed at 4:30 a.m. by a motorist who halted his car and sounded the horn to wake up the Kreiger family.
While no accurate loss figures have been determined, estimates are that it will run into the thousands of dollars.
Mr. and Mrs. Krieger believe the fire may have been caused by a system devised to provide warmth for chicks. Krieger said the system included light bulbs mounted on heat pipes surrounding the area where the chicks were kept. Cardboard flaps were suspended over the bulbs, but were not in contact with the bulbs.
Krieger believes the movement of the chicks may have dislodged one of the cardboard flaps, causing it to come into contact with a light bulb, or a bulb may have come into contact with five inches of shavings placed on the floor of the barn for the chicks.