Fire, explosion at Texas dairy farm leaves 1 injured, 18,000 cows dead

Wisconsin State Farmer
The Castro County Sheriff's Office was among several agencies to respond to a fire and explosion at a dairy farm near Dimmitt on Monday.

At least 18,000 cows died and one person was injured in a fire and explosion that rocked a dairy farm near Dimmitt, Texas, on Monday, April 10, 2023.

The Amarillo Globe-News reported that emergency officials responded to reports of an explosion and fire Monday evening around 7:20 p.m. at the South Fork Dairy Farms in the 1600 block of County 624, southwest of about 11 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas.

Upon crews' arrival, it was determined that one person was trapped inside, and fire crews were able to locate the individual and remove them from the building. The female employee was flown to the University Medical Center hospital in Lubbock.

All employees were accounted for.

Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera told KFDA that the fire from the explosion spread to the building, a large cross-ventilated barn where they herd cattle into a holding pen before bringing them into the milking area. The sheriff told media that only a small percentage of the herd survived and were later relocated to another farm.

Animal Welfare Institute told KFDA that the April 10 fire was by far the deadliest barn fire for cattle overall and the most devastating barn fire in Texas since the agency began tracking barn fires in 2013.

Emergency crews remained at the scene until after 11 p.m. Monday.

Rivera told media that the Texas State Fire Marshall's office was conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire. The sheriff says the initial explosion may have been caused by a machinery malfunction.

The South Fork Dairy is owned by the Frank Brand family and has been in operation for less than a year and employs around 60 people.