Update: Firefighters Rescue Cows From Collapsed Dairy Barn in Middlefield; Two Cows Euthanized

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 local 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.

Earlier Coverage:

Middlefield firefighters, Durham firefighters and members of Durham's Animal Rescue Team are on the scene of a barn collapse and animal rescue on Jackson Hill Road.

At least two cows have been rescued from the collapsed barn and firefighters are attempting to rescue at least three more. The extent of any injuries to the animals is unclear at this point.

Firefighters believe as many as 12 cows remain trapped under the barn, which collapsed Saturday morning under the pressure of heavy snow. Some of the animals were said to be moving around under the collapsed structure.

The rescue is underway at the Triangle A Ranch at 334 Jackson Hill Road.

Patch photographer Jennifer Schulten is on the scene of the collapse and will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds.

katie hughes February 09, 2013 at 05:22 PM
I hate to hear this. Thank goodness for our firefighters.
Sydney Mintz February 09, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Correct address is 334 Jackson Hill Road
Michael Hayes (Editor) February 09, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Thanks Sydney.
nana of 5 February 09, 2013 at 05:49 PM
IS THIS THE SAME BARN THAT BURNED TWICE???? Hope the animals make it out without being hurt... poor things!!!!!!
Lisa Ambrogio Szymaszek February 09, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Durham firefighters are trying to get there too!! May guardian angels keep them all safe!!
unknownauthor February 09, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Those poor animals! Thanks so much to our firefighter heroes who are always there to help. The job is SO much more than fighting fires- it is really about helping people - and their animals!
Marilyn Horn February 09, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Our volunteers in this community are so amazing. May they all be safe as they continue their animal rescue.
Patty V February 09, 2013 at 07:13 PM
So very sorry for such an awful tragedy, my sincere prays to the owners on a safe, and speedy rescue on behalf of all the trapped animals...
Tracy Brogan Schmitt February 09, 2013 at 07:28 PM
It is the barn that burned. Thank you to all the responders!!! I hear they are doing everything possible to save the animals trapped.
Bridget Aiello Smith February 09, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Any updates??
Michael Hayes (Editor) February 09, 2013 at 09:24 PM
two of the cows had to be euthanized, two more in critical. 5 saved and the rest are trapped under the barn but safe. DART is working to provide the cows with a safe, warm place to stay the night.
Jennifer Schulten February 09, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I have such an amazing respect for the first responders that were part of the rescue efforts at the Middlefield farm today. They are truly selfless. It was a very hard time digging out and moving such massive animals and getting them the care they needed. DART, Middlefield and Durham EMS, you are doing an amazing job!
Tiffany February 10, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Thanks Jenn, it was a horrible day. Very sad for these very injured cows. My heart is very heavy for their suffering. I am amazed by our first responders in Durham and Middlefield, great people. -Tiffany Hesser (D.A.R.T.)
margaret serafino February 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM
I would to express my gratitude to all first responders to my barn. As the manager of the Triangle A Ranch I can speak for all us here we are truly devasted at the loss of 5 of our family. The vet and the animal rescue team worked as tirelessly as the firefighters while the owner and I were trapped by the blizzard we knew every effort was being made to save our animals. We spent the day yesterday digging out to all our animals and still have so much more to do while we grieve. Thank you Bill asst fire chief Steve our close friend who walked home after our nieghbors and all the support we have given.
margaret serafino February 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM
We are dedicated to this farm and will rebuild once again. The Triangle A Ranch has had many setbacks and with support from the community it is my fervent wish that we will continue forward.too many farmers have lost so much in the past few years and we continue against odds to keep the land and our dreams alive. Thank you again. Sinc Margaret Mgr Andy Jr Owner
Martha Wetmore February 11, 2013 at 03:59 PM
My heart is heavy for your loss and the lives of the cows. God bless all who did their best to save as many as they could.
Arliss Paddock February 13, 2013 at 09:55 PM
The photos above of the rescue are so devastating and sad in terms of what happened to these poor cows. The photos also so movingly show the efforts, dedication, and great compassion of these rescue workers. Bless everyone who worked to help the animals in this terrible situation and who were "there" for them to help ease their suffering. So difficult, and such brave and honorable work of these people. My thoughts and prayers are with the owners of the farm. I find it very touching and meaningful that they cared for these individual animals so much that they grieve the ones who were lost and refer to them as family members. God bless good farmers like that.


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