Huge semen explosion at bull artificial insemination facility leaves firefighters ‘dodging projectiles’
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Huge semen explosion at bull artificial insemination facility leaves firefighters ‘dodging projectiles’

THERE WAS chaos at a cattle breeding facility in Australia this week after a fire broke out in the building.

Thousands of dollars of damage was done to the facility, with as many as 100 cylinders of bull semen destroyed in the ensuing blaze.

Emergency services arrived on the scene Yarram Herd Services in Gippsland, Victoria at around 3am local time on Tuesday, September 17.

It took 10 fire crews two hours to put out the fire with firefighters forced to not only contend with the blaze but also a series of “projectiles” coming out of the rapidly collapsing structure.

Country Fire Authority Gippsland commander Chris Loeschenkohl told ABC:

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"The liquid inside the cylinders was rapidly expanding and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building.

"So firefighters went into a defensive mode initially to protect themselves, because there were also LPG cylinders at the neighboring property, and they did a magnificent job."

Reflecting on the ensuing chaos, Loeschenkohl admitted he had never had "anything to do with the artificial insemination (AI) side of things before".

According to Yarram Herd Services Committee vice chairman Aaron Thomas the resulting destruction of 100 cryogenic cylinders of cattle semen has hit the company hard.

"The actual cylinders are worth between $500 (U.S. $342) and $1,000 per unit but the semen inside them varies in price," he said.

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"We're coming into the AI season so there would have been substantial amounts of semen inside the tanks that we've lost, which was owned by our local farmers, and it can range in value from $5 per straw to $95 per straw."

To make matters worse, a large amount of expensive equipment was also lost in the fire.

"So this is significant damage and it is going to have a flow-on effect on Yarram, especially after the drought that Yarram district has experienced over the last 12 months."

Yarram Herd Services has provided artificial insemination services to farmers in the region for the past two decades.

An investigation is now underway to determine the cause.