(UnitedVoice.com) – The worst nightmare for a farm owner is a barn fire. The Animal Welfare Institute estimates more than 518,000 animals died in those types of blazes in 2022. A recent explosion at a Texas farm left thousands of animals dead.
On Monday, April 10, at about 7 p.m., 911 calls started pouring into dispatch in Castro County, Texas. The callers reportedly said there’d been an explosion, and they saw thick smoke coming from the area. When first responders arrived at the Southfork Dairy Farms, they were met with a disaster: the farm had exploded.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) released a statement on April 13, revealing a female was trapped in a building after the explosion. She was rescued and was being treated at a hospital in Lubbock. No other human injuries were reported, but sadly, roughly 18,000 head of cattle died.
Friends, words can't express our sorrow at Monday's devastating fire in Dimmitt. I ask all Texans to keep the Castro County ag community in your prayers. Read more here: https://t.co/JeFK0LiCEh –Commissioner Sid Miller #DimmittFire #TexasAgricultureMatters pic.twitter.com/XnnUaRF1y6
— Texas Agriculture (@TexasDeptofAg) April 13, 2023
Miller said the cause of the explosion is unknown and remains under investigation. He asked the community to keep the dairy farm owners, the victim, her family, and others who were impacted in their prayers. The incident was the deadliest fire for cattle in the state’s history. The commissioner also thanked the first responders who fought the fire and rescued the critically injured woman.
The New York Times reported on a statement from the Texas Association of Dairymen that said it was “deeply saddened for the family dairy” and everyone else who was impacted by the explosion. The industry group also indicated those involved were courageous.
While this was the deadliest fire for cattle in the state’s history, there have been other mass casualty events. In 2016, more than 35,000 dairy cows were killed during a blizzard in the state.
Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera told local KFDA that some of the cattle that survived will have to be put down due to the nature of their injuries.
Copyright 2023, UnitedVoice.com