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More than 150,000 fish killed at Freshwater Farms

US - Dave Smith of Freshwater Farms of Ohio had just moved his fish to one barn for the winter and stoked up the stove to stave off the cold. What happened next is no fish story.

Dave Smith, inspects the remains of his fish farm

The barn caught fire shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, nearly destroying the barn and killing more than 150,000 of the farm's half a million fish.

Smith said the direction of the wind that evening was to blame for sparking the blaze.

Crews from Urbana and West Liberty fire departments responded to the scene at 2624 N. U.S. 68. They worked about two hours to extinguish the blaze.

Smith said the firefighters were on hand for hours after the blaze was out, helping to rescue the farm's most valuable creatures — more than 10 sturgeon, some more than six feet long.

"They carried them out one by one," said Smith. "One (firefighter) holding onto the head, another carrying the tail."

The farm is a hatchery and market where the fish are bred and sold. The sturgeon are "raised to breed" solely to stock ponds, Smith said.

Among the saved was Flipper, the farm's prized sturgeon and back-flipping entertainer.

Smith couldn't estimate the loss in terms of dollars, but promises to rebuild. "We knew how to do it once, we can do it again," he said.

Though the main barn is closed for business, the rest of the facility, including the store, remains open.

Source: Dayton Daily News