PERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WYTV) – Heavy snow and ice is being blamed for a roof collapse on a Mercer County barn that killed 20 cows and caused an estimated $500,000 in damage.
The roof collapse at the Xanadu Jersey Farms, a dairy cattle farm, on Laver Road in Perry Township happened around 5 p.m. Tuesday. There were 200 cows inside at the time.
“Soon as I got here, they were sorting cattle out the side. We went in under some of the destructed building and the ones that were standing, we chased out the side,” family member Sally Oaks said.
Owner Tom Colpetzer said the roof was just installed eight years ago. He said the collapse could have been a lot worse because it would have happened 15 minutes earlier, there would have been people trapped inside.
On Wednesday, the community was still helping the family as they cope with the loss of their cows.
“There was cars and trucks and trailers lined up the whole way down the road,” Oaks said.
The owner of the Mercer Livestock Auction has offered up his place as a temporary shelter for the cows.
Angie George with the Farm Service Agency suffered a similar loss in a barn fire 10 years ago.
“I am a farmer myself and I thought it would be good if we all pitched in together and made lunches,” George said.
Colpetzer and his family said they are grateful for everyone’s help. They are not sure exactly how much this will impact their business. He is concentrating on keeping his surviving cows healthy.
“They are your family. They all have their own personalities and their own names.”