2 cows killed, 4 injured in Framingham barn collapse

A barn collapsed at a farm in Framingham this morning, killing two cows and injuring four others, officials said.

The collapse happened at Eastleigh Farm at 1062 Edmands Road. Firefighters arriving found an approximately 40-by-60-foot structure collapsed, apparently under the weight of recent snows, Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Burns said.

Firefighters made sure that all farm personnel were accounted for and not injured, and then began to tend to the cows, Burns said.

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Katherine MacKenzie, Framingham animal control director, said that with the help of the Animal Rescue League, workers would put the four injured animals, which are unable to stand, on a “rescue glide,” a kind of large sled made to move large animals, and move them into a nearby Quonset hut.

“In the Quonset hut, we have plenty of dry bedding, and we’ll get them out of the elements. They won’t be in the wind and the direct snow. So it’s a better place to provide the nursing care for them,” she said.

She said that the four cows had cuts from the roof collapsing and were showing signs of hypothermia. They were being treated with anti-inflammatories, sutures and warm IV fluids, she said.

Burns said the cows had suffered “impact injuries” but “sometimes with these animals it’s the emotional stress as much as anything.”

Another four cows were able to walk away from the collapse, Burns said.

An exhausted farm worker Talis Thorndike said, “Thank you for the fire department, thank you to the neighbors. Everyone was amazing,” she said.

The metal roof was found caved in by farm workers at around 6:30 a.m., MacKenzie said. MacKenzie said she did not think any other structures were in danger of collapsing on the farm.

Fire officials this afternoon tore down the rest of the portion of the building that collapsed, MacKenzie said.

Framingham fire and police responded to the scene, as did the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the state Department of Agricultural Resources, and its Division of Animal Health.

The corrugated metal roof this morning lay crumpled in the snow. People called for more blankets for several cows who were under blankets on the ground. At least one of them appeared to be getting intravenous fluids.

The four injured cows were moved by gliders provided by the Animal Rescue League of Boston to a different barn on the premises to recover, said ARL spokeswoman Elizabeth Dobrska. “The best thing was for them to stay there,” Dobrska said of the injured cattle. “I believe there were several veterinarians there giving them fluids, so hopefully they’ll be making a good recovery.”

An employee at Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton said an associated veterinarian from Connecticut, who specializes in bovine medicine, would be making house calls to tend to the injured cows.