An Australia building that was destroyed by fire in the wee hours of Tuesday housed a cattle breeding laboratory—and more than more than 100 cryogenic cylinders filled with bull semen, worth thousands of dollars, exploded during the blaze. Yarram Herd Services has for two decades provided artificial insemination, breeding advice, herd testing, calf dehorning, and freeze-branding services for dairy and beef cattle farmers, and the company's committee vice-chairman tells Australia's ABC News that equipment was lost in the fire as well.
"A lot of farmers would have semen stock in the building in those tanks, preparing for [artificial insemination], so we've got that plus all of our herd-testing equipment that was in there as well," he says. "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. It's going to be a real blow for sure." Firefighters had a hard time fighting the blaze because the vials of semen were "rapidly expanding and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building," per officials quoted by Fox News. (Read more cattle stories.)