Nearly 11,000 turkeys killed in Frederick County barn fire

Nearly 11,000 turkeys were killed after a barn erupted in flames in Frederick County on Thursday, according to officials.

Firefighters said the blaze broke out at about 5:40 p.m. at the barn located at a farm in the 8200 block of Rocky Ridge Road in Graceham, Maryland.

Because of the location, a public water supply was not available so crews used water from a local pond to extinguish the flames.

Officials said the barn housed approximately 11,000 turkeys and it is estimated that only 100 of the turkeys survived the fire.

There were no firefighter or civilian injuries, officials said. Initial damages were estimated at nearly $1 million.

Katie Stevens with Frederick County's Office of Economic Development said the owner Tyler Nowell's family has been farming for generations. He was recently recognized for purchasing the property in 2014 and starting his own turkey farm, all under the age of 40.

"As soon as we saw the pictures we knew who's farm it was. Tyler was named our 2018 Young Farmer of the Year," Stevens said. "Farmers really work hard to take good care of their animals so it's heartbreaking."

Stevens said turkey farming is one of the largest industries in rural Frederick County and Nowell's loss will be felt by the entire industry.

"Commodity prices were severely low, we had a really wet year and it's still raining today" Stevens explained. "So farmers had already been through a rough patch and to now see this kind of loss for anyone is catastrophic."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.