Dogs killed, thousands of chickens saved in fire on Tracy farm

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TRACY, Calif. (KTXL) -- Firefighters responded to a massive fire at a Tracy poultry farm on New Year's Eve.

"It's just a devastating way to start the new year," Haley Farms owner Kim Hernandez said.

Flames took over Hernandez's storage barn just before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The farm has been in the ranch foreman's family for generations.

"His grandparents started the business. He grew up on that farm," Hernandez said. "I could just see the heartbreak in his eyes."

The fire destroyed equipment, a car and some important documents. The toughest loss by far was the dog and four puppies inside the building.

"Crying with our employee and his daughter, poor little thing. Those were her babies that she lost," Hernandez told FOX40.

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to the surrounding building, saving around 20,000 chickens -- but it wasn't easy.

"It was a really challenging fire because it’s well north in our county and there’s no water supply there," South San Joaquin Fire Authority Battalion Chief Chris Martin said. "So we had to rely on mutual aid partners, water shuttle operations."

With 25 firefighters and multiple trips to get more water, they were able to get the fire under control in roughly three hours.

The cause is still under investigation, as Hernandez waits to hear which costs her insurance will cover.

"Hopefully, Nationwide will be on our side," she said.

Hernandez now hopes the new year will bring new luck for her farm. They plan to rebuild but it will likely take some time.

"If you worry about everything every day, it’s just going to get you down," she told FOX40. "I’ve just come to realize you just have to keep moving forward."

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