Barn at Fairvue Farm suffers partial roof collapse; no injuries

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Pomfret - posted Mon., Feb. 14, 2011
Fairvue Farm on Route 171 in Woodstock, where a portion of a barn roof collapsed. Photo by Denise Coffey.
Fairvue Farm on Route 171 in Woodstock, where a portion of a barn roof collapsed. Photo by Denise Coffey.

One of the barns at Fairvue Farm on Route 171 in Woodstock suffered a partial roof collapse last week, under the weight of ice and snow that had built up. No animals were injured.

Owner Paul Miller heard some creaking noise seconds before it collapsed, while five men were on the roof trying to clear the snow. When they didn’t hear Miller holler a warning, Miller ran in and managed to move the cows out from under the area. “I literally walked under that section maybe 20 to 30 seconds before it came down, so from that standpoint, I’m pretty lucky,” he said.

At first, the cows didn’t want to leave. “They thought it was time to get milked, so they went to the wrong end of the barn, but then they broke the gate and they went out.” No cows were under the section of roof that came down. 

The men clearing the snow didn’t realize a section of the building had collapsed. “We’re really lucky that nobody got hurt,” Miller said.

With the record snowfall amounts this winter, communities all across New England have been plagued by roof collapses. Not all farms were as lucky as Fairvue.   

Miller said that Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steve Reviczky was working hard on dealing with the problems associated with barn collapses. “I don’t know what they’re going to do. Cattle and feed losses have to be reported within 30 days,” Miller said. “I think there may be some funds coming through the Department of Agriculture, but I really don’t know.”

There is a possibility of FEMA funds being released to help clean up and rebuild after collapses, and there may be some low-interest loans available through the Farm Service Agency. “We’re not sure what’s going to happen. Those things take a long time,” Miller said.

Miller said he wants to use the opportunity to educate people about the importance of local farms. “If we didn’t have these local farms and our food had to come from outside the area, and we did have a natural disaster or something, we’d be short of food in the area,” he said. “I always try to get something good out of a negative. That’s what I’m working on here.”


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