Heavy Snow Causes Barn Roof to Collapse, Trapping Farmer

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CLEVELAND TOWNSHIP -- Joel Knoebel counts himself as one of the lucky ones.

The farmer from Columbia County was able to watch his son's wrestling tournament in Williamsport just days after being trapped in his barn. He tells Newswatch 16 he was moving his pigs to safety from an already collapsing part of a barn during the snow storm.  That's when more of the roof collapsed right on top of him, trapping him and his pigs.

"I don't know if I jumped at the same time it came down on me, but I fell down into the alley way," said Joel Knoebel, owner of Cleveland Pork.

Justin Knoebel saw the roof collapse on his brother and thought things had turned for the worse.

"I thought he was dead. I started yelling for him and he couldn't hear me so he wasn't getting back to me, so I started calling 911 to say I think he was trapped and then he called me to say he was crawling out the back," said Justin Knoebel.

Joel was able to crawl more than 200 feet through the narrow section in the barn. More than 60 pigs died in the collapse. The rest had to be moved to a neighboring farm.Friends came from neighboring

Friends came from neighboring counties to lend a hand, helping clear the snow from around the barn so engineers could get a better look at the damage.

"That's what we do here in Schuylkill and Columbia County. Every day is a holiday and every meal is a feast. We look at the bright side," said Lloyd Hampton of Gordon.

Joel only suffered minor injuries. He's just grateful he can spend more time with his family.

"I'd say God didn't want to take me then," said Joel Knoebel.