In a surprising event, over 18,000 dairy cows in Texas were killed in a fiery explosion this past Monday evening.
Texas Dairy Cows Killed in Fire
A massive explosion and fire occurred on Monday night at Southfork Dairy Farm located in southeastern Dimmitt, Texas, causing what could possibly be the largest instance of livestock casualties in history.
At least 18,000 cattle, about 90% of the farm’s total herd, were killed in an explosion and fire at a dairy farm in Texas on Monday, April 10.
Deputies received calls about the explosion at Southfork Dairy Farm in Dimmitt just before 7:30 p.m., with callers saying some employees were trapped inside a dairy milking building.
A female employee was injured in the explosion and was in critical condition as of Wednesday, according to KFDA.
Investigators Trying to Determine the Cause
Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera said the fire from the explosion spread to the building where they haul cattle before bringing them into the milking area and into a holding pen.
“There’s some that survived, there’s some that are probably injured to the point where they’ll have to be destroyed,” Rivera said.
Investigators are working to pinpoint the cause.
“They’re trying to determine if it’s machinery called a honey wagon that sucks out the manure and water,” Rivera said. “It may have ignited possibly methane gas.”
While the Texas State Fire Marshal is investigating the explosion Rivera said he believes it was due to insulation catching fire.
Southfork Dairy Farm has been in operation less than a year. It is located in the High Plains of the Texas panhandle, southwest of Amarillo.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is assisting the owner with carcass disposal/debris issues, which could take weeks.
The Deadliest Cattle Fire
The Animal Welfare Institute said this is the deadliest barn fire for cattle overall and the most devastating barn fire in Texas since the group began tracking barn fires in 2013.
“We hope the industry will remain focused on this issue and strongly encourage farms to adopt commonsense fire safety measures,” said Margie Fishman, Public Relations Manager with AWF. “It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive.”
With an average dairy cow worth $1,300, the loss for South Fork Dairy is in the tens of millions of dollars, not counting the damaged facility – the estimated value of 18,000 dairy cows is being put at $35 million to $40 million.
Officials have not determined the cause of the explosion at the time this article was published.
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