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Published September 30, 2011, 06:15 PM

Fire destroys barn, thousands of turkeys

Pelican Rapids, MN (WDAY TV) - A devastating fire has left one of the Gorton family's biggest barns in ruins, more than a half-million dollars in damage, and thousands of turkey's dead.

A devastating fire has left one of the Gorton family's biggest barns in ruins, more than a half-million dollars in damage, and thousands of turkey's dead.

A call came in from one of John Gorton's neighbors who was wrapping up his harvest for the night when he smelled smoke, and saw the orange glow above the trees.

John Gorton – Owner of Turkey Farm: "When I got out of town a mile, I could see that glow over the hill, then I knew he was for real."

Like a prized family heirloom, the Gorton farm has been passed on three generations. From John's grandfather, to his father George. Farming's a way of life, but moving forward wont be easy.

John Gorton: "The biggest thing is what a waste. And then, what next?”

There were more than 9,000 turkeys in this barn when it burned, just 17 weeks old and less than a week away from heading to market. John's father George bitterly takes a look at a working barn, what their charred mess once looked like.

George Gorton – Turkey Farmer: "Yea, the same. It’s just a crime. Look how nice they look."

The Gorton's say they plan to re-build once this gets cleaned up. But since they lease this barn out they say it won’t be an easy process, still its what's needed to keep the family farm moving ahead.

John Gorton: "This is a lot of unnecessary work, were busy enough. This is a colossal project to get to."

Fire investigators have ruled out foul play, and say the fire was likely caused by an electrical problem.

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