Firefighters work to rescue dozens of animals trapped after a large barn collapsed during heavy thunderstorms on a property in the 10800 block of Weidner Road in unincorporated Harvard Tuesday afternoon. | Photo: HFPD

Over 45 animals have been rescued and four are dead after a large barn collapsed during severe weather near Harvard Tuesday afternoon.

The Harvard Fire Protection District responded around 2:35 p.m. Tuesday to the 10800 block of Weidner Road in unincorporated Harvard.

Marengo Fire and Rescue District Communication Specialist Alex Vucha, acting as a spokesperson for the Harvard Fire District, said crews received a report of a barn collapse with multiple animals trapped.

Firefighters work to rescue dozens of animals trapped after a large barn collapsed during heavy thunderstorms on a property in the 10800 block of Weidner Road in unincorporated Harvard Tuesday afternoon. | Photo: HFPD

Firefighters arrived on the scene within several minutes and observed a large 30-foot by 50-foot pole barn that had fully collapsed to the ground.

Additional firefighters, manpower and heavy machinery were requested to the scene due to the extent of damage.

Vucha said it is unknown how many animals were inside the barn when it collapsed. The animals were all living on the lower level of the barn.

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Firefighters work to rescue dozens of animals trapped after a large barn collapsed during heavy thunderstorms on a property in the 10800 block of Weidner Road in unincorporated Harvard Tuesday afternoon. | Photo: HFPD

“When the barn collapsed, it created a void on the lower level which protected and saved nearly all the animals,” Vucha said.

Firefighters safely rescued a total of 24 sheep, 18 goats, one cow and multiple chickens and ducks from the structure as of 6:30 p.m.

Vucha said four animals were confirmed dead and two are unaccounted for.

There have been no reports of any human injuries.

Firefighters work to rescue dozens of animals trapped after a large barn collapsed during heavy thunderstorms on a property in the 10800 block of Weidner Road in unincorporated Harvard Tuesday afternoon. | Photo: HFPD

Vucha said weather is believed to be a factor in the collapse.

Heavy rain and winds passed through the area when the initial emergency calls were made.

A tornado warning was in effect at the time just prior to the fire department being dispatched to the scene.

The Harvard Fire Protection District said they appreciate the assistance of local homeowners for donating their equipment and manpower during the rescue efforts.

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