18,000 cows roasted alive in massive Texas dairy farm explosion

A massive explosion ripped through a Texas Panhandle dairy farm on Monday, catastrophically roasting 18,000 cattle alive and critically injuring one woman who was airlifted to UMC Hospital in Lubbock for treatment.

(Video Credit: Everything Lubbock)

The explosion took place at Southfork Dairy Farm in Dimmitt, Texas. The Castro County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News Digital in an interview that the cows were in a holding area before being brought in for milking when the earth-shaking blast hit, igniting a fire that spread and killed most of the livestock. Only a few cows survived the tragedy, according to KFDA.

“Your count probably is close to that. There’s some that survived, there’s some that are probably injured to the point where they’ll have to be destroyed,” Castro County Sherif Sal Rivera told the local media outlet.

“Part of this main part here where the cattle are held is probably a total loss, possibly. The dairy part has probably some damage from the smoke and maybe the fire,” he said.

According to police, eight calls came in just before 7:30 pm on Monday reporting the blast and the intense fire which engulfed a number of buildings. Callers told authorities that there were employees trapped inside the buildings. It turned out that there was just one woman. She wound up with critical injuries but thankfully, no other employees were killed in the explosion.




When the police and multiple fire departments arrived on the scene at the dairy farm, they found the woman trapped in a building. She was rescued and then airlifted to the hospital about 80 miles from where the explosion took place. She is now reportedly in critical but stable condition. Everyone else was safe and accounted for.

The precise cause of the blast is still unknown and the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

“The speculation was probably what they call a honey badger, which is a vacuum that sucks the manure and water out, and possibly that it got overheated and probably the methane and things like that ignited and spread out and exploded and the fire,” Rivera told local news outlet KSAT.

According to media reports, the dairy farm had been there for less than a year.

The Animal Welfare Institute told KFDA that this is the deadliest barn fire in Texas since 2013.

“We hope the industry will remain focused on this issue and strongly encourage farms to adopt commonsense fire safety measures. It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive,” Margie Fishman, Public Relations Manager with the Animal Welfare Institute, commented.

The surviving cattle have been moved to a separate facility that has the same owner as South Fork Dairy.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Amarillo Region arrived on the scene of the explosion at approximately 9:30 am on Tuesday and began assisting the dairy owner with carcass disposal/debris issues according to KFDA.

As the investigation plays out, it is expected that the cleanup following the devastating blast will take a prolonged period of time. The incident will also impact the area economically as workers are now out of a job. The dairy farm was one of the largest businesses in the county.

Each cow was valued roughly at around $2,000. The company’s losses in livestock could well be into the tens of millions of dollars, County Judge Mandy Gfeller noted. That doesn’t include equipment and structure loss.

“You’re looking at a devastating loss,” she stated according to USA Today. “My heart goes out to each person involved in that operation.”

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