Melvin the Ram Found After Barn Collapses Under Heavy Snow

03.21.17 | Bob Price

Heavy snow piled on a barn roof in Union County caused the two-story structure to collapse over the weekend. Now a family is dealing with the loss of several barn animals and the burden of having to rebuild.

Just a few weeks old, two lambs and dozens of other animals were inside a barn when the roof caved in and the building near Mifflinburg collapsed.

"Everything that our life is was in that barn, and to see it flat down there was really no thought of anything surviving,” said Catrina Eberhart.

Eberhart flew in from Texas when she heard about her parent's barn. Her family is cleaning up now. On Sunday, her parents weren't home and were without cell service when snow on the roof became too much causing the 16,000-square-foot building to collapse.

"The weight of the snow that we had and it didn't melt off, then we had some more yesterday morning," said Crystal Bollinger.

Bollinger came home to find neighbors freeing her animals from the rubble.

"They did an amazing job knowing what they had to do," said Bollinger.

The animals that did escape are finding refuge in other barns thanks to neighbors. Two lambs lost their mother. A cow and a horse named Sunny were also killed.

"You can just get on your horse and go for that day, and it just brings you so much joy," said Eberhart in tears.

The family thought they lost four animals, but the morning after, something miraculous happened, they found Melvin the ram.

"When I was over there rummaging, I heard him. Melvin's alive!" said Bollinger.

Bollinger could hear him, but couldn't get to the ram. She called an excavating company for help.

"They said its name was Melvin, and I started laughing. She said, ‘Why you are laughing?’ I said my real name is Melvin, and I don't want people to know it. I said I'm bull headed so it will be alive, and sure enough, it was," said Melvin "Chip" Schlegel.

The family says Melvin survived because there was a beam above him, which protected him when the roof collapsed. It could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the barn. Donations are being collected at the family's church.