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A father and his 9-year-old son were killed Friday when a barn on their property collapsed on them, Iowa officials say.
The father and son were identified by the Dike-New Hartford Community School district as Andy Kaufman and soon-to-be fourth grader Beckett Kaufman, according to a statement obtained by KCRG.
Fire officials in Cedar Falls say the barn fell on them around 6:30 p.m. Friday. They were located during the recovery efforts and officials determined they were killed immediately upon the collapse.
A neighbor of the Kaufman’s who said Andy is his best friend, Trey Nuss, said the barn had just been installed on a concrete pad a day before the accident, according to The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
“What everybody needs to know is that Andy was so overly cautious with anything with his kids,” Nuss told the newspaper. “There’s no way if there was any danger that Andy saw that he would have had his kids anywhere near it.”
In its statement to families, the school district said it is a “truly devastating time” for its community.
“We are all trying to work through our feelings of shock, grief and trauma,” it said. “We know that many of our students, staff and families will need extra support dealing with the emotions around this tragic accident.”
Richardson Funeral Service in Cedar Falls is handling the funeral arrangements.
Andy Kaufman was a member of the “Do Better. Be Better. Foundation,” which offers fundraisers to help local families suffering from medical emergencies. The foundation said Andy and Beckett will leave “behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.”
“(Andy) had a heart of gold, a smile that will never be forgotten, and was an incredible friend to our family in our time of need,” the foundation wrote on Facebook. “Beckett... had the bluest of eyes, the kindest of hearts, and the fiercest competitive nature. He was a mini version of Andy and idolized everything he did.”
Nuss said “there’s a big hole there” following the deaths of the father and son.
“I don’t think there’s anybody who dislikes Andy or Beckett,” he told The Courier. “Everybody got along with those guys.”