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No Sale in Rochester After Cave-in


by Jerry Goshert

Published: Friday, February 26, 2021

The owner of the Rochester Sale Barn is vowing to rebuild a section of roof that collapsed under the weight of heavy snow, forcing the cancellation of last Saturday's livestock auction.

"We're going to fix it and keep going forward," said Vince Hoffman, owner of the sale barn.

He was referring to a 60-by-70-foot section of roof located above the livestock pens and behind the auctioneer stand. The cave-in occurring last Thursday evening caused between $75,000 and $100,000 in damage. There was no harm to the sale arena itself.

Also, no humans were injured, as the accident occurred during the overnight hours. Only one animal, a sow, was housed in the sale barn, but she was unhurt.

Hoffman said an employee arriving last Friday morning discovered the collapse. He estimated there were about 15 inches of heavy, wet snow on the roof, most of it coming from a major winter storm that blew through last Monday evening.

"I looked up there Tuesday, and I thought, 'Man, there's sure a lot of snow up there,'" Hoffman said. "But that ain't something you just crawl up there and shovel off. There's a lot of span up there."

After conferring with the insurance adjuster and building contractors, Hoffman began the clean-up process early this week. He was unsure if repairs would be made in time for this Saturday's weekly livestock auction.

"It's not likely," he said Monday afternoon, "but there's a chance."

Last Friday, the holding area for livestock was littered with snow and broken boards from the collapsed roof. However, there was very little damage to the wooden pens.

Hoffman said he was thankful that the cave-in occurred during the overnight hours when no one was there. The business has 20 employees.

"You can be mad all you want," Hoffman said. "It's not going to fix it. Nobody got hurt. No livestock got hurt. It can be fixed."

He laughed at the suggestion that last week's partial roof collapse was a carry-over of 2020's misfortune.

"All in all, for 2020, as screwed up as it was, we still ended up on a pretty good note as far as business-year-wise. We ended up good," Hoffman said. Looking up with a sarcastic grin, he added, "This is just icing on the cake."

Ironically, the sale barn experienced a similar roof collapse almost 10 years ago. However, Hoffman said that cave-in, on Feb. 5, 2011, affected a different section of the roof.

"We will rebuild and keep right on a trucking," Hoffman said. "How long will it take? That remains to be seen. But we'll keep trucking."

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