Horses trapped in barn collapse
One horse was killed and two were rescued when a barn collapsed Wednesday evening at Queen's Farm Stables in Waynesville.
George Queen, owner and operator of the farm, said he heard the barn collapse from his nearby home around 7 p.m. and immediately called 9-1-1.
The large 83-year-old barn was beginning to show signs of failure and part of it had been repaired and closed off for safety reasons, said Mark Conard, an employee at the stables.
Queen believes the age and recent rainfalls took a toll on the barn and weighed down the bales of hay that were in the loft. At the time of the collapse, three horses were in the stable.
The initial collapse killed one horse that was about 10 years old, Queen said.
Crews from Junaluska, Crabtree and Clyde fire departments cut through part of the barn to free one horse named Bo, who was treated on the scene by a veterinarian.
The third horse was sedated and pulled from under piles of wood and treated on the scene as well.
Junaluska Fire Chief Charles Wood said though it was an unusual situation, crews used their training to stabilize the barn and rescue the horses.
"Our primary concern was the safety of our crews, but we weren't going to leave those animals to suffer."
The rest of Queen's 19 horses were roaming the field nearby and were all accounted for.
Queen's Farm Stables is popular for its scenic mountain horse trail rides.
"I've been in the horse business for 42 years and this is a tragedy," Queen said. "But we're real lucky because we didn't have any of our employees in there."
Though part of the barn collapsed about 10 years ago, he said that incident did not harm any of the horses. When crews left the scene around 11:30 p.m., the horses were eating and drinking and seemed to be on their way to recovery, Wood said.