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A deadly explosion at Texas dairy farm in Dimmitt has killed an estimated 18,000 milking cows.
One person was left critically injured. Authorities are still investigating the determine the cause of the blast.
The Castro County Sheriff’s Office said the cows were in a holding area before being brought in for milking.
A massive blast engulfed the Southfork Dairy Farm.
Houses 30 miles away felt the impact of the explosion and saw a pall of smoke.
🚨#UPDATE: Mass Casaulty Incident has declared after explosion at dairy farm in Dimmitt, Texas. So far one person is in critical condition at this time with information being very limited this was moments after the explosion that took place#SouthForkDairy#CastroCounty… pic.twitter.com/R5GjvUMHN5
— LockharTVMedia (@LockharTVMedia) April 11, 2023
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The Animal Welfare Institute estimated the incident is the deadliest barn fire in Texas and deadliest involving cattle since the organization started tracking the fires in 2013, KFDA reported.
A giant plume of intense, dark smoke could be seen from the farm, according to images and video posted on social media in the aftermath of the event.
“Your count probably is close to that. There’s some that survived, there’s some that are probably injured to the point where they’ll have to be destroyed,” Castro County Sherif Sal Rivera told KFDA when asked to confirm the loss of some 18,000 head of cattle.
Farmer’s Weekly reports the blaze spread so rapidly farmworkers were trapped inside the milking parlour by smoke and flames or were beaten back by the heat, preventing them from freeing cattle.
On arrival, firefighters devoted their efforts to rescuing the trapped workers. One woman took longer to free and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.