Horses escape barn collapse in North Stonington - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Horses escape barn collapse in North Stonington

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Recent heavy snow combined with Thursday's rain caused several roof structures including one in North Stonington to fall this week.

Four horses narrowly escaped from their stalls when the roof of the barn they were in came crashing down at Rott-n-Horse Farm in North Stonington on Thursday morning.

Around 6 a.m. Roger and Cathy Whitehead were up ready to go into the barn to care for their horses when all of a sudden, the roof gave way.

"Grabbed our flashlight and out we came. Didn't hear a peep from the horses that's when we thought the worse," said Roger Whitehead.

As you can imagine their hearts sank, afraid the horses were gone.

"There are three stalls in the back here and you cannot see a single thing at all," Cathy Whitehead said.

Cathy Whitehead told Eyewitness News she didn't hear a sound from the horses when she raced to the collapsed barn.

She looked inside and there was dead silence. But as she moved the flashlight, the Whiteheads could see their pets were OK.

One escaped and another was trapped, but thanks to the quick action of North Stonington firefighters, all the animals were rescued safely.

"They were just standing perfectly still," Cathy Whitehead said. "They weren't thrashing or making noise. If they started thrashing they could have torn everything down on all of us could have been killed, the fire department was in here with me."

Only one horse received a minor cut from a possible exposed nail.

The Whiteheads said only thing that saved the horse from being crushed by a collapsed truss was the stable post.

The problem this property owner now faces is that while her insurance covers the barn, it doesn't protect from roof collapse.

"Evidently there is such a thing called a named peril group," Cathy Whitehead said. "You're supposed to pick what you want, your barn covered for like fire or lightning or supposedly they are not going to cover a barn collapse."

The horses were moved to the pasture and will get temporary shelter. In the meantime, the structure will have to come down on Friday. 

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has warned property owners to take the snow load off.

"Residents should be aggressive about protecting their structures. With forecasters predicting an active storm pattern to continue over the next few weeks, now is the time to start clearing snow from your roofs to prevent heavy buildup," Malloy said in a statement Friday.

Since the Whitehead's farm is a non-profit animal rescue, a special fund has been set up at go and go to the Rott--N-horse link

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