CASTRO COUNTY, Texas – A fire and subsequent explosion at a dairy farm in Texas that injured one person and killed an estimated 18,000 head of cattle was unintentional and began with an engine fire in a manure vacuum truck cleaning part of the massive barn, state investigators said in a report.
The April 10 fiery explosion occurred in west Texas at the Southfork Dairy Farm about 50 miles from Amarillo. According to the State Fire Marshal report dated April 24, it remained unclear what caused the engine fire, but investigators concluded there was “no intentional act to cause a failure.” As a result, the case is closed, NBC DFW reported.
The employee driving the truck through a section of the 2 million-square-foot barn told investigators he noticed what he initially believed to be steam emitting from the engine compartment. He attempted to drive out of the barn when he realized the engine was ablaze and was unable to get the truck out.
The worker made an attempt to quash the fire with two extinguishers but failed. The fire quickly spread despite assistance from several other employees who rushed to help.
The number of cows killed made the catastrophe the deadliest barn fire involving cattle since the Animal Welfare Institute began tracking barn fires in 2013, according to the organization.