Oklahoma Ice Storm Takes Out Man's Barn

Friday, January 30th 2009, 4:27 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

PITTSBURG COUNTY -- The weight of the ice didn't just cause problems on power lines and trees.  It cost one Oklahoma man a barn and nearly his life.

Rick Smith has seen a lot of threatening weather over the years at his home near Lake Eufaula.

"Two years ago, a snow storm, ice everywhere.  Trees breaking," said Rick Smith.

 But, this latest winter storm will end up being the most memorable and not in a good way.

"Wasn't no warning.  It just came down all of a sudden," said Rick Smith.

Smith was inside his barn getting fuel for a heater and a generator, when suddenly the barn came crashing down on top of him.  The weight of the ice caved in the center of the barn's roof.  Smith crawled out on his hands and knees to safety.

"God was above me at that time," said Rick Smith.  "I didn't know if the world was going to come to an end if I was going to make it out alive or what."

To make matters worse, the roof is resting on Smith's truck, RV and other items stored inside.

"The tractors, we got furniture in there, tools and work equipment that I work with, and it's a total loss," said Rick Smith.

The temperatures have come up and the sun is out, which is a good thing, it's helping to melt some of that heavy ice on top of the barn, but now the wind is picking up, which makes it too dangerous to get inside, to get anything out.

While the ice melts, insurance adjustors and contractors are looking at the barn to see if it can be repaired, or if it will have to be totally replaced.

"Would you get a crane in here and try to lift this thing off my pickup truck?" asked Rick Smith.

Whatever happens, Smith is just thankful to have made it out, safe and sound.

"By the grace of God I crawled out of there," said Rick Smith.

Smith says he'll rebuild the barn using steel instead of lumber, to make sure it is better able to handle the weight of the ice the next time we get a winter storm.