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After Roof Collapse, Park City Officials Offer Advice To Homeowners

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KPCW

A Park City home had a partial roof collapse on Tuesday morning. While the investigation is continuing, it’s believed that it was caused by the snow load on the roof. With the snow pile-up and some heavy, wet conditions recently, officials think it is prudent to inspect rooftops where significant snow has accumulated.

Park City Building Official David Thacker said there are indications if a building is structurally stressed and there are things people should be aware of inside their homes.  He says no one knows their home better than its owners. The City has inspection staff and they can make recommendations but getting an engineer is the best path if there are concerns about the structural integrity of a building.

“You can look at a roof and see a lot of snow on it, of course. I think as people are looking at their roofs, as they evaluate it, it’s the interior that you need to be aware of as you look at it. Be aware of any abnormal popping or cracking sounds that maybe you don’t normally hear in your home. Look for cracks within and around your doorways and structural members. If your doorways are not shutting properly and they used to, you know, there’s a likelihood that that could be bowing just a little bit. So, just be aware of things that might be changing.”

Park City Fire Chief, Paul Hewitt, says there are tell tale signs typically before a roof fails completely.

“The owners heard some creaking and cracking and the signs of the sagging roof. The symptoms, the noises they heard. And I’ve had a few reports of vents being clogged and flooding issues.  And, it very well could create some carbon monoxide issues.”

Hewitt says it’s been an unusual year and people should take a walk around their house and to be sure it’s safe.

“It’s extremely heavy. So, it does create issues that average light , fluffy snow won’t create. And, it will block vents. So, it might be a great time to do an assessment of your house and make sure your gas meter is clear. When you’re clearing your gas meter, don’t hit on it with a shovel. Don’t kick it. Just be safe in your practices. Do a 360 of your houses.  Make sure the conditions are safe. And, again, one thing I better say is, look overhead. Situational awareness. Ice and snow can weigh tons and is lethal if it drops.

Thacker says the weight of snow can vary.  The building code is robust enough to handle about 300 pounds per square foot but it’s hard to measure that by looking at the depth of snow on a roof.

Hewitt does not advise homeowners to climb up on second story rooftops to clear it. Both officials recommend hiring professionalsand Thacker says homeowners should pay attention to how their mechanicals are working.

“If your mechanical equipment, your furnace, your boiler, maybe even a fire place, is not operating properly or not putting out the heat it normally does, it’s likely one of those vents could be compromised in some way, whether it’s partially blocked or fully blocked. And, at that point, there is a great concern for some carbon monoxide issues. So, we would encourage, as chief Hewitt mentioned, have a professional come out and look at that and evaluate it because there’s likely some snow that could be removed so that equipment can operate properly.”

Officials recommend that people check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, create a three-foot perimeter around all fire hydrants and clear snow away from the gas meter.  

   
 
 
  
 
 
 

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