CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — In September, farmer Kevin Bridges was working in one of his chicken houses just like he does every day starting at 6 a.m.
What You Need To Know
In September, a fire killed 10,000 of farmer Kevin Bridges’ chickens when one of the chicken houses caught on fire
The Bridges Farm in Cleveland County goes back generations when Bridges’ grandfather started a dairy farm
Bridges says rebuilding could cost hims thousands of dollars, and he doesn’t want to leave his family in debt
Nothing was different he says, the chickens were laying the eggs like normal, and he was checking and stacking them like any other day.
But just a few hours later, after he had left that particular chicken house, one of his employees saw smoke coming from the far back.
When they peeked around the corner, it was too late, the chicken house was on fire. Made of wood, it took only minutes for the flames to strengthen.
The Polkville Fire Department arrived within minutes, but the fire chief said there was nothing he could do except control the flames and keep them from spreading to the other chicken house within feet of the one on fire.
Months later, Bridges continues to begin his work at 6 a.m., checking eggs his chickens have laid in the house that was saved.
But he is not sure if he will rebuild the one destroyed by the fire.
“You just have to sit back, take a breath, and say, ‘OK what are we going to do?” Bridges said.
This isn’t the first tragedy the family has lived through.
His father was killed by a bull on the farm in 1999.
“That’s why I say, the fire was bad, but to put things in perspective worse things have happened to us,” Bridges said.
The family is grateful for all the help they received from the community that day, and right now, he will keep his one chicken house until he can weigh his options.
“Farming makes you resilient,” Bridges said.