BY JEAN RUZICKA
The weight of snow caused the collapse of a barn roof at the Aho Dairy Farm early Friday morning, 20 Holsteins killed in the incident with several more butchered due to injuries.
The failure of the portion of the free-stall barn roof was discovered about 4 a.m. Friday. Five volunteer fire departments responded to the incident near Wolf Lake, as well as an outpouring of help from the community.
“It was an awesome turnout,” said Ray Aho, one of the five brothers who owns the farm, home to about 500 cows. The barns were built in 1998.
An estimated 260 cows were on the side of the barn where the collapse occurred, with 100 directly impacted, Tyrone Aho said. Fifty were trapped in debris, which was cleared by about noon Friday and the cows freed.
Family and volunteers headed onto the barn roofs to remove snow. Debris was removed via equipment.
“By day’s end we were back up and running,” Tyrone Aho said, crediting the firefighters, neighbors and friends.
The milk production has been affected by the incident, he said of the twice a day milking on the farm.
“It was a tragedy,” Patricia Aho said. “But it was awesome to see how the people stepped in to help,” she said of people arriving with food and offering assistance.
Wolf Lake, Perham, Detroit Lakes, Frazee and Carsonville fire departments arrived on scene.