Thousands of young chickens died when a fire broke out at a poultry farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters said when they arrived at the scene, flames were pouring out of all sides of the commercial structure. The barn, which contained 14,000 chicks, was effectively levelled by the fire.

Crews could be seen pouring water from a ladder, and an excavator was at the scene helping to pull the roof apart so firefighters could reach hotspots hidden in the debris.

The barn is part of a large poultry operation located at Burns Road and Dominion Avenue.

Deputy Chief Robert Kipps told CTV News that the wooden building was unprotected, meaning there were no sprinklers or other fire suppression systems in place.

"It's basically all untreated, unpainted, unprotected wood on the inside. So anything that would have happened would have spread very quickly, and we saw that," Kipps said.

Because the chicks were so young, natural gas heaters in the barn were being used to keep the temperature quite high. He says while the cause of the fire hasn't been determined, investigators will be looking closely at those heaters.

Kipps said it is "100 per cent not suspicious."

He said firefighters were pleased they were able to keep the blaze from spreading to the buildings on either side of the barn, and no other chickens were harmed.

With reports from CTV Vancouver's Ben Miljure and Norma Reid