One person was injured and more than 18,000 cows died in an explosion and fire at a Texas dairy farm on Monday night.
The disaster took place at Southfork Dairy Farms near Dimmitt, which is located between Lubbock and Amarillo.
“This is by far the deadliest barn fire for cattle overall and the most devastating barn fire in Texas since we began tracking barn fires in 2013,” said Margie Fishman with the Animal Welfare Institute, according to KVII-TV in Amarillo.
One woman injured in the fire was taken to a hospital in Lubbock. She was reported in critical condition.
Castro County Sheriff Sal Rivera said the State Fire Marshal’s Office ruled that the fire began in “a piece of machinery.”
The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality also will investigate the fire at the farm, which had been in operation for about a year.
“According to witnesses there was an explosion and then it spread into a fire,” Rivera said, according to KVII.
“The magnitude of the fire and the amount of people that were here, we were very fortunate that it was less than what we had,” he said. “We had just one injured. It could have been a lot worse.”
Residents of Dimmit said the fire was like nothing they had ever seen.
“It’s mind-boggling. I don’t think it’s ever happened before around here. It’s a real tragedy,” Dimmitt Mayor Roger Malone said, according to USA Today.
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“It was crazy. And there was big, massive black air and it looked like fog in the street. And it was all burnt — the place,” Kennedy Cleraman said, according to KFDA.
“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. The whole thing was on fire, and it was crazy,” Maleki Laurent said.
Fishman said the incident was a reminder of the need for farms “to adopt commonsense fire safety measures.”
“It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive,” she said, according to KFDA.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.