ADDISON, Ill. (AP) — A load of 14,000 chickens that were stranded in suburban Chicago when the semitrailer they were in lost a wheel were later sprayed down by firefighters to protect the tightly-packed birds from overheating.
The semi filled with birds was on Interstate 90 near Elgin when a wheel came off Tuesday morning, forcing the driver to stop. A mechanic chained up one of the truck’s axles, and the driver then proceeded slowly to a repair shop about 30 miles (48 kilometers) away in the Chicago suburb of Addison.
After the semi arrived at Super Truck Service, mechanic Andrew Loucks used a garden hose to spray down the chickens on a day when Chicago-area temperatures climbed well into the 80s.
“I didn’t want the chickens to die. I didn’t know what to do,” Loucks told the Chicago Tribune.
A medic crew from the Addison Fire Protection District saw Loucks hosing down the birds and knew that wouldn’t be enough for the chickens to survive the heat.
Battalion Chief Chris Mansfield said a firetruck was dispatched and firefighters hosed “probably several hundred gallons of water” onto the chickens.
Loucks unloaded the chickens into the repair shop and two large fans were then used to help cool the birds.
Despite those efforts, Mansfield said several hundred, “if not a thousand,” chickens died as they awaited the arrival of a truck from Wisconsin to take them to a farm.