Dairy farm blast kills 18,000 and seriously injures a worker amid fears it was caused by overheated machinery mixed with methane
- Explosion at South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt is the worst fire monitor ever seen
- A worker was trapped in a dairy building during the fire and was rescued
A massive fire caused by a suspected methane explosion at a Texas dairy farm killed 18,000 cattle and seriously injured a worker.
The explosion at the South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt is believed to have been caused by machinery overheating, which ignited methane, although the exact cause has not been confirmed.
A female worker was seriously injured after she became trapped in the dairy building during the fire and had to be rescued by firefighters. She will be hospitalized from Wednesday.
Castro Country Sheriff Sal Rivera said the fire spread to the building where they transport cattle before being taken to the milking area and to a holding area, meaning only a small percentage survived.
“There are those who survived, there are those who are probably so injured they should be destroyed,” said Sheriff Rivera.
Dramatic footage of the scene showed a black column of smoke rising from the farmhouse as well as the devastation left on the ground
The Castro County Sheriff’s Office and the Dimmitt, Hart, and Nazareth Fire Department all responded to the blast Monday
Speak against KCBDadded the sheriff: “The speculation was probably what they call a honey badger, which is a vacuum that sucks out the manure and water, and possibly it overheated and probably ignited the methane and things like that and spread and exploded and the fire.’
Methane is naturally produced on dairy farms by cows through gastric fermentation and manure storage.
Dramatic footage from the scene showed a black column of smoke rising from the farmhouse, as well as the devastation left on the ground.
Charred bodies of cows are left behind and are treated by environmental officials along with the burnt-out barn.
“It’s mind-boggling,” Dimmitt Mayor Roger Malone said of the number of cattle deaths. “I don’t think it’s ever happened here before. It’s a real tragedy.’
Callers said a number of employees were trapped, but when first responders arrived they found only one person trapped in the milk building.
The County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that one person needed to be rescued.
The explosion at the South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt is believed to have been caused by machinery overheating, which ignited methane, although the exact cause has not been confirmed
Callers said a number of employees were trapped, but when first responders arrived they found only one person trapped in the milk building
Police said they had received eight calls about an explosion and fire just before 7:30 p.m. Monday. The emergency services were on site until after 11 p.m. on Monday.
The Animal Welfare Institute, an animal protection group that began monitoring farm fires in 2013, described it as the deadliest livestock barn fire they had ever seen.
“We hope that the industry will continue to focus on this issue and strongly encourage farms to adopt sensible fire safety measures,” said Margie Fishman, Public Relations Manager at Animal Welfare Institute.
“It’s hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Amarillo Region arrived on the scene Tuesday morning and is helping the dairy owner clean up the carcasses.