Roof Collapse Reports Piling Up

BOSTON (CBS) – Reports of roof collapses and unsafe structures piled up Wednesday as accumulated, melting and frozen snow was made heavier by freezing rain. State officials had 30 such reports by late afternoon.


A 100-foot section of Winnelson Plumbing and Heating Supplies, about half the building, on Southbridge Street in Auburn caved-in in this morning when employees would have been inside if the company had not called-off work because of the hazardous weather.

“Certaintly, if the staff was in the building today, it could have been catastrophic,” Acting Auburn Fire Chief Stephen Coleman.

The acting Auburn fire chief said anyone with a flat or even a slightly pitched roof, like the one on the Winnelson building, should clear the snow from them.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports.


Worcester firefighters were called to Dick’s Sporting Goods on Lincoln Street after an employee noticed a 6-foot piece of steel on the floor from one of the trusses supporting the ceiling. The fire department measured 8 inches of ice and 15 inches of snow on the store’s flat roof. Employees were evacuated.

“When you get these big roofs, with the trusses, expansive roofs, you’ve got HVAC equipment and snow load up on the roofs, it makes for a lot of weight on these roofs,” explained District Chief William O’Connell.

Another big box store in Worcester, Wal-Mart, was closed today as a roofing crew shoveled off the flat roof.


Two independent roofers spent most of the day on top of retired firefighter Red Ljunggren’s home in Shrewsbury. “I feel better we’re getting some of the weight off that roof before the roof collapses,” said Ljunggren.

Jason Haskins of West Brookfield and Jerry Freeman of Boylston have cleared a dozen roofs in the past three days. “Some of the roofs, we can walk right off the roof it’s so deep,” said Freeman.

“It’s…a little heavier today with the snow and rain coming down. It’s definitely going to be a little heavier. We’re trying to get it off before the ice builds up,” said Haskins.


Three planes and a helicopter were heavily damaged when the roof at a hangar that’s operated by Swift Aviation Services came down.

A mechanic working on a plane managed to get under a desk before the collapse. There was little warning before the roof caved in from all the snow.

“I didn’t really hear much of anything. I just felt the shaking and then a deep rumble, and then you knew, there goes the roof,” said Ted Robinson of Norwood Airport.

No one was hurt.

As WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports, the many roof collapses led people to rake their roofs.

weymouthgasstation Roof Collapse Reports Piling Up

The awning over pumps at a Weymouth gas station collapsed under the weight of snow and rain on Wednesday.


The awning at a gas station in Weymouth collapsed on Wednesday morning.

No one was hurt, but plenty of damage was reported.

“We turned over the debris that was down there, and we’re pretty fortunate that there was nobody down there (under the collapse),” said Dep. Chief John Haslam of the Weymouth Fire Department.

The deputy chief said the heavy snow and heavy rain made a dangerous combination for roofs on all area buildings.

“These roofs are just not designed for that kind of weight,” said Dep. Chief Haslam.

hopkintonforweb1 Roof Collapse Reports Piling Up

No one was injured in this building collapse in Hopkinton.


Officials reported a partial roof collapse at one of the buildings on 35th Street.

The large building is typically used to store farm equipment.

The collapse left a pile of twisted metal and splintered wood.

No one was inside when the roof came down, and there were no injuries were reported in the collapse.


Heavy wet snow soaked by heavy rain caused a roof of a specialty metals warehouse in Wilmington to collapse Wednesday morning.

“My understanding is that there was one gentleman that was particularly close. He heard the roof starting to, or what he thought was somebody banging on a door. It was actually the thing starting to give way. He went into the collapsed area but he was not injured,” Fire Chief Edward Bradbury told WBZ-TV.

It is unclear how many employees were inside at the time, but no one was hurt.

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports from Wilmington.

There are also reports of minor roof collapses coming in from Chelsea, Northboro and Springfield.

MEMA officials and search & rescue teams are on standby as the winter storm moves out of the area.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders contributed to this report.

  • gnrwrangler

    the roof of a family dollar store in haverhill has buckled under the weight of the snow forcing the stores closure.gmc

  • Mike

    A house roof collapsed in Hudson MA

  • Cynic

    The Moral of the story?…Don’t put a tin roof on a building and expect it to hold a lot of Snow.Are there no Construction Standards?

  • Sara Bernardo

    I’m pretty sure that part of the roof at the Wrentham Outlets just collapsed too. I work there and we were evacuated with no explanation of what was going it- it clearly was not because of the rain/sleet.
    There was a huge amount of emergency vehicles at the end of the mall with the food court when I left, and yellow “do not cross” tape all over the end of the mall. Crazy!!!

    • Thomas Hood

      I hope everybody is safe!

  • Thomas Hood

    I have 3500sqft of flat roof on my house. I also have 2x10s on 12″ center and a single stage snowblower to clear the snow between storms. It’s a pain in the behind but if these property owners though ahead a little they could avoid some of this…

  • jaybo

    how much of a threat for a Cape Cod style home that had some melting prior to this storm but gutters are still ice dams, some icicles.
    Because it is sloped, mostly, is it less likely to be an issue? Replaced shingles, had installed water and ice shield a few feet from drip edge? Any pros that can comment as I’m still worried this year due to litttle relief unlike past years….thx.

    • jaybo

      the replacement work was completed about 10 years ago… previous issues but this year seems different, much more up there.

      • Coachjim

        jaybo. Slope roofs have a are significantly less likely to buckle under the wieght of the snow. That being said, the ice damming can be a major issue. It sounds like you have taken the proper precautions when you re-did the roof. To be smart, you should try to get as much snow off the eave line for a distance of about four to five feet as possible. That will give the best potential for the eaves to thaw and minimize the damming effect.

    • Jay Esty

      The new ice shield will prevent leaking and will help prevent ice damming. However, if you see damming (visible ice buildup) you’re still at risk of damage to the shingles and, if the damming works up the pitch above the ice shield, potential leaking and related interior damage. If you see damming, get the snow off the eave, but be SAFE and give a wide berth to all wires. I am a licensed builder in MA and am about to go clear my own roof 24 hours after doing it last… This is good weather for chiropractors!

  • arce

    snow is over today in Pepperell, let’s go clean the roofs, specialy the flat ones.

  • SuperWizard

    Nobody uses a snowthrower on a roof, Mr. Hood.
    Let’s be reasonable now.

    Furthermore, God invented BUILDING CODES for a reason, not just to bribe the building inspector to ignore deficiencies…

    • Thomas Hood

      I do. Really! It’s a little Toro 16″ 3.25hp with rubber paddles. It doesn’t hurt the rubber membrane on the roof and weighs less than 30lbs so it’s easy to get up the ladder. Works like a charm! :)

  • jay


    You don’t think people use a snow blower on a roof?
    I did in 1995.

    Not everything is built to the current building codes.

    How about home built 100 or more years ago?

    I currently own one that is 115 years old and another I owned was 100 years old at the time i owned it.

    The first one was built using two or three types of construction, not additions it was built that way and was way over built.

    The current one is built with everything 2 feet on center and the roof rafters would be undersized by today’s codes.


  • jay


    In 1995, I used a Toro electric shovel on my roof.

    Yeah I know I said snow blower in my previous post.


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