Just over 18,000 cows have been killed earlier this week due to a fire breaking out in Dimmitt, Texas, at the South Fork Dairy Farm.
Local authorities were sent several calls that employees were stuck inside of a milking facility, with at least one worker being rushed to the hospital in critical condition in the wake of being rescued by first responders, as explained via a report from NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera stated that a fire due to an explosion quickly enveloped the building that housed the cattle before they were taken into the milking area, as explained in a report from KFDA, with all of the cows except for a very small percentage perishing in the disaster. The massive fire likely spread via the insulation wrapped around the building.
"Your count probably is close to that," Rivera explained with a nod to the estimated number of livestock left. "There’s some that survived, there’s some that are probably injured to the point where they’ll have to be destroyed."
Officials from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality stepped in to help workers deal with the massive number of cattle carcasses. The Animal Welfare Institute explained that the fire will go down as the deadliest when it comes to cattle deaths since the group first started to monitor barn fires just over ten years ago.
Those living in Dimmitt, a small town just to the southwest of Amarillo that sports just under 5,000 residents, explained to local media outlets that smoke from the blaze could be spotted for miles. "It was lowkey crazy to hear about because we were just chilling and then we just heard a boom," stated Renzo Sullivan in an interview with KDFA. "Then we look in the distance and there’s just a big cloud."
"It was crazy because it’s like something like that happening here is like kind of unheard of, you know. So it was just like it was a mind-blowing thing to hear," Sullivan went on. "It is kind of painful because it’s like that’s kind of what we do here, and that’s how we get our money for like the city and all that. So that’s just a major drop for us."
Other residents in the area stated that they were surprised to see the massive plumes of smoke and were concerned for the future of the Dimmitt economy. "We look up, we’re inside and we go out and look through the window, and we just see clouds. It was like an explosion," stated Maleki Laurent. "It was crazy. And there was big, massive black air and it looked like fog in the street. And it was all burnt," added Kennedy Cleraman.