DIMMITT, Texas (KFDA) – Initial reports say that upwards of 18,000 cattle were lost in the fire last night at the South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt.
At this time, we know only a small percentage of the cows at the facility survived.
The surviving cattle have moved to a separate facility that has the same owner as South Fork Dairy.
Sheriff Sal Rivera says the fire from the explosion spread to the building where they haul cattle before bringing them into the milking area and into a holding pen. Because of this, Sheriff Rivera says only a small percentage of cows survived.
“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,” said Castro County Sheriff, Sal Rivera.
According to the Animal Welfare Institute, this fire is by far the deadliest barn fire for cattle overall and the most devastating barn fire in Texas since they began tracking barn fires in 2013.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Amarillo Region arrived on scene at around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and are assisting the dairy owner with carcass disposal/debris issues.
Nearly 6.5 million farm animals have perished in barn fires since 2013, according to an AWI analysis.
NewsChannel 10 has reached out to the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.
They have a crew on the scene that is assessing the damage.