State fire marshal warns of roof collapse

State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan announced that because of recent snow, there is a greater urgency to clear roofs of snow and ice that has accumulated.

A roof may collapse with little or no warning, and one common misconception is that only flat roofs are susceptible to collapse. High roof parapets can accumulate significant drifting snow, especially during wind events.

These warning signs could indicate that you have a danger of roof collapse. You should evacuate the building immediately and notify your local building official or fire department, or contact a structural engineer to determine whether the building is safe.

? Sagging roof steel – visually deformed.

? Severe or new roof leaks.

? Cracked or split wood members.

? Bends or ripples in metal supports.

? Recent cracks in walls, drywall or masonry.

? Cracks in welds of steel construction.

? Screws sheared off from steel frames.

? Sprinkler heads pushed below ceiling tiles.

? Doors that pop open.

? Doors or windows that are difficult to open.

? Bowed utility pipes or conduits attached to the ceiling.

? Creaking, cracking or popping sounds.

Past fire investigations have determined that gas service to some buildings has been damaged because of heavy snow loads and snow sliding off roofs onto gas meters and components. Snow sliding off of roofs onto outside oil tanks has caused valves and filters to be broken off.

The state fire marshal urges all residents to perform these tasks:

? Clear roofs of excessive snow and ice buildup, being careful not to damage gas and oil service to the building. Clearing the roof can be dangerous and should be left to professionals. Using a roof rake is recommended; keep away from electrical lines.

? Keep all chimneys and vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building. Some vents, such as pellet stove vents, may exit the building through a wall and are susceptible to being blocked by excessive snow buildup on the outside of the building.

? Keep all exits clear of snow so that occupants can escape quickly if a fire or other emergency should occur. Keep in mind that windows should be cleared to allow a secondary means of escape in case the primary means of escape is blocked by fire. Keeping exits clear also allows emergency workers to access your building.

Specific fire and building safety questions can be answered by local fire and building officials or by calling the state fire marshal’s office at 223-4289.

State fire marshal warns of roof collapse

State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan announced that because of recent snow, there is a greater urgency to clear roofs of snow and ice that has accumulated.

A roof may collapse with little or no warning, and one common misconception is that only flat roofs are susceptible to collapse. High roof parapets can accumulate significant drifting snow, especially during wind events.

These warning signs could indicate that you have a danger of roof collapse. You should evacuate the building immediately and notify your local building official or fire department, or contact a structural engineer.

Sagging roof steel – visually deformed.

Severe or new roof leaks.

Cracked or split wood members.

Bends or ripples in metal supports.

Recent cracks in walls, drywall or masonry.

Cracks in welds of steel construction.

Screws sheared off from steel frames.

Sprinkler heads pushed below ceiling tiles.

Doors that pop open.

Doors or windows that are difficult to open.

Bowed utility pipes or conduits attached to the ceiling.

Creaking, cracking or popping sounds.

Past fire investigations have determined that gas service to some buildings has been damaged because of heavy snow loads and snow sliding off roofs onto gas meters and components. Snow sliding off of roofs onto outside oil tanks has caused valves and filters to be broken off.

Degnan urges all residents to perform these tasks:

Clear roofs of excessive snow and ice buildup, being careful not to damage gas and oil service to the building. Clearing the roof can be dangerous and should be left to professionals. Using a roof rake is recommended; keep away from electrical lines.

Keep all chimneys and vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building. Some vents, such as pellet stove vents, may exit the building through a wall and are susceptible to being blocked by excessive snow buildup on the outside of the building.

Keep all exits clear of snow so that occupants can escape quickly if a fire or other emergency should occur. Keep in mind that windows should be cleared to allow a secondary means of escape in case the primary means of escape is blocked by fire. Keeping exits clear also allows emergency workers to access your building.

Specific fire and building safety questions can be answered by local fire and building officials or by calling the state fire marshal’s office at 223-4289.