Almost 5,000 chickens have died as a result of a massive fire that broke out at a farm in Abbotsford Monday morning.

The fire broke out at around 6:30 a.m., tearing through a barn on Tolmie Road with flames shooting more than 15 metres in the air.

"It was fast, it was intense, and it was terrifying," said neighbour Maureen Purser, who woke up to the sound of sirens.

"It was so overwhelming. You could see it, billowing black smoke. And it was a roaring fire by that time."

Police closed down the road between No. 3 and No. 4 roads for several hours while crews worked to get the blaze under control.

The fire leveled one barn and severely damaged another, killing thousands of chickens in its path.

But Abbotsford Fire officials said the losses could have been much worse. When crews arrived, the fire was starting to burn a second barn, and with the wind, it could have been a disaster.

The second barn is a write-off, but the chickens inside it survived. The cause of the fire is under investigation but it is not believed to be suspicious, officials said.

The owners have insurance, but the losses will still be difficult.

"It's heartbreaking. It's Family Day and look what they're dealing with," Purser said.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro