Thousands of cows killed in fire, explosion at dairy farm in Texas Panhandle, reports say

Initial reports say more than 18,000 cows died

AMARILLO – Thousands of cows were killed in an explosion and fire at a dairy farm in the Texas Panhandle earlier this week, according to media reports.

The Castro County Sheriff’s Office and multiple fire departments responded to the incident on Monday night at the Southfork Dairy Farms near Dimmitt, a city between Lubbock and Amarillo.

A female employee was trapped inside and was rescued by firefighters, according to the sheriff. She was flown to a hospital in Lubbock and was in critical condition at the last check, KFDA reported.

Sheriff Sal Rivera said the extent of damage and the exact number of animals killed is under investigation, but initial reports say more than 18,000 cows died.

“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,” Rivera told KFDA.

KFDA reported that only a small percentage of animals lived, and those surviving cows will be placed in a nearby facility by the same owner.

“Part of this main part here where the cattle are held is probably a total loss, possibly. The dairy part has probably some damage from the smoke and maybe the fire,” he said.

The sheriff told KVII that the fire led to the explosion that spread through pens holding the cows. It was likely caused by an equipment malfunction.

Media reports state that the dairy farm had only been there for less than a year.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.