The remnants of a barn that collapsed in Borden-Carleton Monday afternoon. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
Wind and building's age likely contributed to cave-in at Stephen Muttart's farm
BORDEN-CARLETON – Fate’s a funny thing.
For instance, what if Stephen Muttart of Muttart’s Farms in Borden-Carleton had gone right into his barn Monday night to feed his cows? That’s what he’d intended to do. Instead, he decided to make a last minute stop in his work shed.
No sooner he did, then he heard, snap! Pop! Bang!
A section of his cattle barn, right where he would have been working, collapsed without warning a little after 5 p.m.
Surveying the wreckage Tuesday morning, the “what ifs” didn’t concern Muttart – all he could think about was how much cleanup work he’s got to do.
“It’s a real kick in the teeth,” he said.
The Muttarts believe they lost at least three cattle in the collapse, but they hadn’t been able to take a full account yet.
The whole barn structure held more than 100 beef cattle. The oldest section of the barn is what collapsed (they aren’t sure exactly how old it is) and it held about 30 animals. The majority of those are now being housed with a neighbouring farm for the time being.
Once Muttart realized what had happened Tuesday, he started making calls for help.
One of those was to his father, Lloyd Muttart.
“It was quite a crash – gave him quite a start,” said Lloyd.
They, along with a good many neighbours and the Borden-Carleton fire department, spent their evening rounding up and seeing to the safety of unhurt cattle.
“At that point there wasn’t much I could do,” said Lloyd.
Once the animals were safe, heavy equipment was brought in to demolish the damaged section of building.
The Muttarts aren’t really sure what they’ll do now, though they’ll likely have to look at either rebuilding onto the remaining sections of the old barn or building a new structure.
They’re also going to have to try and stabilize what’s left of the newer sections of the barn, lest they lose the whole thing.
“It’s going to take some time … but I mean if you want to stay in business you need a building,” said Lloyd.
“We’ve got the insurance people here, they’ll make their decision, we’ll start to clean up and we’ll just take it day by day, I guess,” said Stephen.
As for what caused the barn to collapse, the men weren’t sure.
There have been several structures collapse around the province this winter because of excessive snow, but Stephen said there wasn’t an inordinate amount on the barn.
He suspects Monday’s strong winds and the advanced age of the building probably had more to do with the collapse than the snow.