Volunteer firefighters, neighbors and farmers helped rescue more than 200 cows from a barn at an upstate dairy farm after the building's snow-laden roof collapsed, killing 25 animals, a wife of one of the co-owners said Thursday.
One whole side of the barn's 400-foot long peaked roof fell around 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kings-Ransom Farm in Saratoga County, according to Becky King, whose husband Jeff owns the farm along with his brother Jan and their parents.
Neighbors and other farmers within a 30-mile radius of the family farm in the town of Northumberland, 35 miles north of Albany, rushed to help out after word about the collapse spread quickly through the rural area, Becky King told The Associated Press.
"It was unbelievable," she said. "Every friend and neighbor that we know had someone here."
Rescuers worked until 5 a.m. Thursday, using shovels to clear snow from the debris and heavy construction vehicles to lift pieces of the roof to free about 240 cows, but 25 cattle were killed, she said.
Some of the smaller, younger cows were spared from serious injury when their stalls prevented heavy debris from landing on them, she said.
Four veterinarians, including Jan King's wife, treated injured cattle at the scene. The surviving cows were transported to nearby farms, Becky King said.
She said the roof was already covered with snow before this week's storm dumped almost a foot on the area. The storm wasn't as severe as originally forecast and the accumulated snow wasn't deemed too excessive when the owners checked the barn earlier on Wednesday, Becky King said.
No farm employees were inside the barn when it collapsed.
Jeff and Jan's father, Edgar King, whose family has owned the farm for more than a century, said he received word of the collapse by cell phone while on a flight from Florida, then joined the rescue effort when he arrived home.