LONDON, ONT -- The fate of an old barn doesn't usually top headlines but it does Friday as a controversial one in London has suddenly been reduced to rubble.

It was around 9:30 p.m. Thursday when neighbours to 247 Halls Mill Road in Byron were alerted to the sound of heavy equipment and snapping lumber.

"What happened to barn? Well the barn's down," said owner John McLeod in a brief phone interview with CTV News.

At the scene used to stand a 130-year-old barn that is now no more.

It was just two days ago that London city council declared it a heritage building in a 12-3 vote. Council also denied a request for a demolition permit.

The move came after neighbours became concerned about roof panels disappearing from the structure this past September.

Soon after McLeod was issued a 'make safe' order that led to the heritage designation.

Neighbours say they spotted a backhoe with no lights on tearing down the barn.

Byron barn partially collapsed

In an interview McLeod is asked if he had someone tear it down with a back hoe.

"Kind of looks like that doesn't it?" responded McLead.

Meanwhile neighbours are expressing their shock and anger.

"Twelve people on council voted to protect and save that building," says neighbour Debbie Park. " ... they're going to have to react and make some changes and do something. I don't know, I'm sorry, I am still kind of in shock about the whole thing.

City Responds:

Since publication the City of London has issued the following statement from Peter Kokkoros, Deputy Chief Building Official.

“We take this very seriously. We are launching a full investigation this morning to ensure we have all of the details about what happened last evening. Until we have that information, we won’t be providing any further comment on this.”