On Monday night a major explosion occurred at South Fork Dairy in Dimmit, Texas. It is being called the “deadliest barn fire for cattle overall” after over 18,000 cattle were killed in the fire.

The smoke from the explosion could be seen 80 miles away.

The fire spread to multiple buildings on the property, including where the cattle are held while they wait to be brought to the milking area.

One person was trapped inside the facility during the fire, but they were rescued by first responders and were airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.

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It has been reported by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that the initial explosion could have been caused by a malfunction in machinery. However, it is still under investigation and nothing has been confirmed yet.

“It was probably what they call a ‘honey badger,’ like a vacuum that sucks manure and water out,” said Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera. “It is possible that it overheated and the methane and things like that might have ignited and spread out with an explosion and a fire.”

Margie Fishman, the Public Relations Manager with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWF), called for all farms to ensure they have implemented proper fire safety measures in light of this incident, saying, “We hope the industry will remain focused on this issue and strongly encourage farms to adopt commonsense fire safety measures. It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive.”

According to the AWF, this fire was the deadliest bar fire for cattle by far, as well as the most devastating barn fire in Texas since they began tracking them in 2013.

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

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