Dairy Farm Explosion Kills Almost 18,000 Cattle, Critically Injures 1 Person

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An explosion rocked a Texas dairy farm April 10, killing 18,000 cows and critically injuring one person, authorities say.

The Castro County Sheriff’s office responded to numerous calls regarding an explosion Monday evening at the Southfork Dairy Farm, KFDA News reported. Upon arriving at the scene, law enforcement officials and fire crews determined that at least one person was trapped inside the milking building that had gone up in flames. The victim, an unnamed female, was located by fire crews who were able to get her to safety and transport her to a local hospital for care, according to a release from the Castro County Sheriff’s office.

Being cited as the deadliest barn fire for cattle overall and “the most devastating barn fire in Texas” since they started being recorded in 2013, officials have determined that almost 18,000 cows were killed in the explosion and subsequent fire. Sheriff Sal Rivera reasoned so many were killed because the fire spread to a building where cattle were housed before they were brought in to milk, KFDA reported. (RELATED: House Fire Kills Multiple Rescue Dogs, Injures Firefighter)

“It was crazy. And there was big, massive black air and it looked like fog in the street. And it was all burnt — the place,” local resident Kennedy Cleraman told KFDA.

The loss of the dairy farm, the cattle and the milk has caused concern among residents. “It is kind of painful because it’s like that’s kind of what we do here, and that’s how we get our money for like the city and all that. So that’s just a major drop for us,” local resident Renzo Sullivan said.

Though the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office, Rivera believes the culprit behind the disaster was a piece of farm equipment.

“The speculation was probably what they call a honeybadger, 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,” he told KFDA.