Here's What Officially Caused Deadliest Barn Fire Involving Cattle In Texas History

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jun 25, 2023 - 09:30 PM

Authored by Darlene McCormick Sanchez via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The official report on the deadliest barn fire involving cattle in Texas history, and in the last decade, has deemed it an accident.

A massive explosion at the South Fork Dairy in Castro County, Texas, sent billowing black smoke skyward, on April 10, 2023. (Courtesy of Castro County Sheriff's Office)

While the 25-page report from the Texas State Fire Marshal said no foul play was involved in the record-setting fire in the state’s panhandle, questions about the cause linger.

The April 10 blaze at the South Fork Dairy in Demmitt, Texas, killed almost 18,000 dairy cows and critically injured one employee, who later recovered, according to the Castro County Sheriff’s Office.

South Fork Dairy was one of the largest dairy farms in the country, located about 75 miles northwest of Lubbock.

Barn fire at the Ely Fischer farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 10, 2022. (Timothy Coover Maytown/East Donegal Township Fire Department Photographer)

The fire marshal report obtained through an open record request said the cause of the inferno that created a large black plume of smoke high over the Texas prairie was caused by an engine fire in a manure vacuum truck.

The fire was so hot that metal beams were warped in places. From the structure’s exterior, investigators found dead cattle “three to four deep.”

The fire was mentioned on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” before Fox News canceled this popular news host. Carlson began reporting on a slate of fires at food processing plants and livestock deaths by fire in 2022 and suggested the events might be connected as part of a conspiracy to damage the nation’s food supply.

Fires have killed many thousands of chickens and cattle across America, prompting widespread concerns about food security.

It looks like terrorism,” Carlson said on his show after the massive fire at the South Fork Dairy. “Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But maybe someone should explain how it isn’t.”

A Mensch vacuum truck outside the South Fork Dairy in Texas is the same as another one that caught and caused the largest barn fire in Texas history, on April 10, 2023. (Courtesy of the Texas State Fire Marshal)

Not Eco-Terrorism

Several weeks later, the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office called the dairy blaze accidental. But the official report noted something unusual.

A second Mensch manure vacuum truck—the same make and model as the one used inside the barn at the time of the fire—had previously burned due to an engine fire.

The investigation report noted that the second truck was parked outside the east side of the barn near a generator, where it had remained undisturbed since its engine caught fire.

Local news reports cited a Texas State Fire Marshal’s news release saying that a third vacuum truck fire had occurred at another dairy. The statement gave no further detail.

The agency’s news release stressed that no foul play was indicated, and the incident was not a “terroristic attack, or any type of event caused to interrupt the milk supply.”

A farm is leveled by the South Obenchain Fire along Butte Falls Highway in Eagle Point, Oregon, on Sept. 10, 2020. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

Yet the vacuum trucks have no history of malfunctioning, according to a written statement from Mensch Manufacturing in Hastings, Michigan, to The Epoch Times.

No one has identified any issue with the machine, and we are unaware of any issue with the machine that would have caused a fire,” the statement reads. “In our nearly four decades of operation, we have had no claims about defective equipment that led to a fire.”

Deadliest Barn Fire for Cattle

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), which keeps records of barn fires and farm animal deaths, ranked the South Fork Dairy fire the deadliest for cattle since the agency began tracking barn fires in 2013.

Livestock deaths from fires have been increasing, a recent AWI study shows. From 2018-2021, 539 fires killed nearly 3 million animals, researchers found.

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