State fire marshal warns of roof collapse

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

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

? Sagging roof steel.

? 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.

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

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

Keep roofs clear of snow and ice buildup, being careful not to damage gas and oil to the building. Clearing the roof can be dangerous and should be left to professionals.

Keep all chimneys and vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building. Some vents may exit the building through a wall and are susceptible to being blocked by snow.

Keep all exits clear of snow so 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.

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