About 17,000 young turkeys were killed Wednesday in a barn fire in Stearns County, the sheriff's office reported Thursday.

The fire, which broke out on a property in Grove Township, was reported just before 4 a.m. Wednesday by passersby, according to Sheriff John Sanner. Firefighters from Sauk Centre and Melrose helped put out the blaze.

The barn was a total loss. The property owner estimated that the lost barn and turkey poults (young turkeys) were worth about $500,000, Sanner said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.