Two Cows Euthanized after Dairy Barn Collapses; Others Rescued by Firefighters

Emergency officials spent Saturday afternoon attempting to reach two dozen dairy cows trapped in barn that partially collapsed under the weight of heavy snow. Patch photographer Jennifer Schulten captured the rescue.


Firefighters were involved in a dramatic rescue at a Middlefield farm on Saturday after heavy snow caused a dairy barn to partially collapse, trapping two dozen milking cows underneath it.

At least two of the animals had to be euthanized, officials confirmed this afternoon.

Firefighters from the Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company responded to Triangle A Ranch at 334 Jackson Hill Road shortly before 11 a.m., just hours after the storm finished dumping about three feet of snow on the town. 

Using shovels, heavy machinery and even their hands, firefighters cleared snow from the twisted metal as they attempted to reach the trapped animals.

Five cows were safely rescued, according to officials, but two other animals pulled from the debris were euthanized due to the extent of their injuries. Two other cows were in critical condition and were expected to be euthanized as well, officials said.

The remaining cows were in a part of the barn that withstood the collapse and were not in any immediate danger, officials said. 

"I am very grateful for the Middlefield firefighters," said Margaret Serafino, who manages the farm. 

Unable to reach the farm because of the snow, Serafino spent most of the morning on the phone with rescuers, which included firefighters from nearby Durham and members of the Durham Animal Response Team (DART).

Firefighters spent several hours trying to reach the trapped cows and used straps and heavy machinery to lift the animals that were unable to move on their own. 

A veterinarian was called to the scene almost immediately and began treating the animals, according to Serafino. 

"Our vet could not come down. He's coming down from Massachusetts and it would've taken him three or four hours," she said. 

A farmhand was at the scene of the accident when the roof collapsed, according to Serafino and made the initial call for help.

While firefighters cleared the scene by 4:40 p.m., DART members were working to provide the remaining cows with a comfortable place to stay overnight, an official told Patch.

The farm is owned by Andrew Anastasio Jr. 

In 2009, a herd of more than 100 cows were rescued from a barn at the dairy farm after the second story of the structure caught fire. Middlefield and Durham firefighters also responded to that incident.

Serafino said she initially struggled upon hearing the news that the animals were trapped but said she was thankful that rescuers were able to prevent the animals from further suffering.

"Whatever they felt was necessary, I was willing to do for the animal's sake," she said.


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