A powerful explosion and fire at the Southfork Dairy Farm in the Texas town of Dimmitt caused the death of 18 000 cows on Monday, according to local authorities.
Police were notified of an explosion and fire at the dairy farm shortly before 7:30 p.m. Monday with reports of people trapped inside the milking building.
Upon arrival at the site of the incident, authorities determined that there was only one woman trapped in the building. The person who was reported to be in critical condition was rescued and transported to UMC Hospital in Lubbock.
Local authorities reported that the incident resulted in the death of about 18 000 cows ( 90 percent of the farm’s total herd) that were in a holding area before being taken to milking at the time of the explosion, according to the Castro County sheriff’s office.
�� Texas (last night)
The fire spread into the dairy cow holding pens, and an unknown amount of dairy cattle were killed by the fire and smoke.
The cause of the fire is unknown and the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating. pic.twitter.com/c9RDrcPuAM
— Buddy Broussard (@buddy_broussard)
April 12, 2023
Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera, speaking to local media, referred to the high number of cattle killed in the explosion. “There are some that survived, there are some that are probably injured to the point where they will have to be destroyed,” Rivera said.
Sherif added that it is possible that “a vacuum sucking up manure and water and possibly that overheated and probably methane and things like that ignited and spread and exploded and the fire.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office. County Judge Mandy Gfeller suggested the explosion may have been caused by a faulty piece of farm equipment.
The task of cleaning up the 18 000 charred carcasses poses a major challenge for state authorities and cattlemen, as this is one of the largest mass cattle deaths in U.S. history.
Castro County Judge Mandy Gfeller said, “We are looking at a devastating loss.” According to Gfeller, cattle losses could be in the tens of millions of dollars, without considering damage to equipment and structures.