Dairy farm explosion leaves 18,000 cattle dead and one employee critically injured in Texas


April 13, 2023

Explosion at South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt is worst farm fire monitors have seen.


Via Dailymail.com:

A huge blaze caused by a suspected methane explosion at a dairy farm in Texas has left 18,000 cattle dead and a worker critically injured, with pictures showing the devastation left in its wake.

The explosion at the South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt is thought to have been triggered by machinery overheating, causing methane to ignite, although the exact reason has not been confirmed.

A female worker was critically injured after she became trapped inside the milking building during the blaze and had to be rescued by firefighters. As of Wednesday she remains in hospital. 

Castro Country Sheriff Sal Rivera said the fire spread to the building where they haul cattle before bringing them into the milking area and then a holding pen, meaning only a small percentage survived.

'There's some that survived, there's some that are probably injured to the point where they'll have to be destroyed,' Sheriff Rivera said. 


Dramatic images from the scene showed a column of black smoke rising from the farm, as well as the devastation left on the ground.


The Castro County Sheriff's Office and the Dimmitt, Hart and Nazareth Fire Departments all responded to the explosion on Monday.


Speaking to KCBD, the sheriff added: '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.'

Methane is produced naturally on dairy farms by cows through enteric fermentation and manure storage. 

Dramatic images from the scene showed a column of black smoke rising from the farm, as well as the devastation left on the ground.

Charred bodies of cows remain and are being dealt with by environmental officers along with the burnt out barn.

'It's mind-boggling,' Dimmitt Mayor Roger Malone said of the number of bovine deaths. 'I don't think it's ever happened before around here. It's a real tragedy.' 

Callers said a number of employees were trapped inside, but when first responders arrived they only found only one person in the milking building. 

The County Sheriff's office confirmed one person had to be rescued. 



Police said they received eight calls just before 7.30pm Monday about an explosion and fire. Emergency crews were on scene until after 11 pm on Monday.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Amarillo Region arrived at the scene on Tuesday morning and are helping the dairy's owner with the disposal of the carcasses. 


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