“Last night at 7:21, we had received eight 9-1-1 calls to the Sheriff’s Office concerning this fire here at the South Fork Dairy,” Sheriff Salvador Rivera told our affiliate KAMR. He said he and his deputies as well as multiple other fire departments and agencies responded.
Sheriff Rivera said there were no fatalities at the time. He also said the victim who was sent to University Medical Center in Lubbock had been trapped in the building until fire crews arrived to remove the victim; the victim was in critical condition but was “doing okay.”
“According to the witnesses, there was an explosion that spread into a fire and spread into the building where the dairy cattle are held,” Rivera continued.
Unfortunately, the Sheriff said some dairy cattle were lost in the fire, but at the time it was uncertain just how many.
The cause of explosion was still under investigation, according to Rivera, but he said, “I think they’re trying to determine if it’s a machinery called a ‘honey wagon’ that sucks out the manure and water…it might’ve ignited the possibly, methane gas or something like that…”
About 60 people work at South Fork, which is a relatively new dairy, being about 6 months to a year in operation, the Sheriff said. It was the first explosion the dairy ever had.
“Right now everything, the actual fire is contained. We do have smoldering manure and hay which will probably continue to smolder for a while.”
Sheriff Rivera said the State Fire Marshal’s office was handling the investigation.
“The magnitude of the fire and the amount of people that were here, we’re very fortunate…that it was at least one injured,” said Rivera. “It could have been a lot worse.”