CASTRO COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office released information regarding the recent fire at a dairy farm in Castro County.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, an explosion occurred at the South Fork Dairy in Castro County earlier this month. The Castro County Sheriff’s Office, alongside other law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and emergency personnel, responded to the incident and were able to remove one person trapped inside the facility.
According to a news release, investigators with the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office concluded that the fire originated in the northern end of the dairy as a result of a failure of a piece of equipment. Officials said the explosion was the result of flammable liquids, including liquid fuel, hydraulic oil and other materials, “expanding rapidly,” causing a “smoke explosion.”
The fire was ruled as accidental, with there being no reported evidence of “foul play.” Officials confirmed in the release that the incident caused the death of more than 17,000 cattle and critically injured one person. Officials with the Castro County Sheriff’s Office said the person continues to be in a Lubbock hospital in “serious condition.”
The release said that due to factors including the fire’s size, the insured loss amount, the number of cattle killed, and the piece of equipment that caught fire being identical to others that have burned previously, “there will be a more in-depth investigation of the reason for the failure by other original and cause investigators and engineers that are experts in the field of equipment failures.”
On Monday, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Amarillo office investigators were onsite to observe disposal activities being conducted, saying: “The TCEQ continues to provide assistance to South Fork Dairy to ensure that dead livestock and any other debris is disposed of in accordance with TCEQ rules and regulations.”