18,000 cattle killed in Texas barn fire, the deadliest mass death of cattle in two decades

An explosion and fire at a Dimmitt, Texas dairy farm killed 18,000 heads of cattle and left one employee in critical condition on Monday. The South Fork Dairy employee and the animals were trapped in a milking parlor and holding pen as it burned. Fire authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion and blaze. From the New York Times:

"While devastating, I'm grateful that there were no further injuries," Sid Miller, the Texas agricultural commissioner, said in a statement[…]

This was the deadliest barn fire for cattle in Texas history," Mr. Miller added. "The investigation and cleanup may take some time."

The episode appears to be the largest mass death of cattle in a single fire, not only in Texas, but also across the United States, in at least two decades, according to data from the Animal Welfare Institute, a nonprofit that has been tracking barn fires since 2013.

According to NewsChannel10, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is supporting South Fork Dairy in burial of the dead cattle that are being moved out on trucks.