A large explosion and fire broke out at South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt, Texas on Monday night.
The cause is still unknown. Reports say the explosion engulfed multiple structures.
The smoke from the explosion could be seen from as much as 80 miles away.
According to Texas authorities, more than 18,000 cattle died during the explosion.
“There’s some that survived, there’s some that are probably injured to the point where they’ll have to be destroyed,” according to Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera.
#UPDATE: Mass Casaulty Incident has declared after explosion at dairy farm in Dimmitt, Texas. So far one person is in critical condition at this time with information being very limited this was moments after the explosion that took place pic.twitter.com/7m4kNFgWmE
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) April 11, 2023
“We strongly encourage farms to adopt common-sense fire safety measures. It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive,” said Margie Fishman of Animal Welfare Institute.
Officials with the Castro County Sheriff’s Office said that one person was trapped inside the facility and fire crews were able to locate the person and remove them from the building. One person was airlifted to a Lubbock hospital, said Rivera, and was last reported to be in critical condition. Further, an unknown amount of cattle were killed in the fire.
While its cause is still under investigation through the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office and others, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Rivera noted that the initial explosion may have been caused by a machinery malfunction.
The South Fork Dairy was further noted to be a recent development in the community, having been in operation for less than a year in the area and employing around 60 people. This is the first instance of a fire or explosion at the business.
Although no official word has been made, it’s unclear how a steel structure like the dairy’s could catch fire so quickly.
This structure is approx 2,136,973 sq ft and is a total loss. It is devastating for the injured and the lost dairy cows. Thoughts and prayers to all injured and involved. @rawsalerts pic.twitter.com/gvBe6wmaRf
— Blake Bednarz (@BlakeBednarz) April 11, 2023
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