Minnesota: Snow Buildup Puts Roofs At Risk

Officials in Saint Paul and other Twin Cities communities are warning about roof safety following record snowfall in December and more precipitation likely to come soon.

"There isn't only the potential problem of leaking from growing ice dams, but there is also the real potential for structural roof collapse," Ricardo Cervantes, director of the city's Department of Safety and Inspections, said in a statement. "The impending water retention from rainfall, particularly on large flat roofs, will only compound the problem."

The Department of Safety and Inspections said people should use caution when removing ice dams and snow from roofs. If it is not done properly, the integrity of the roof could be put at risk. Additionally, clearing a roof is dangerous even for the most experienced homeowner. Calling on a professional to perform the work should be a serious consderation.

At Regions Hospital in St. Paul, five people were admitted in late December after falling from roofs. The injuries have included fractures of the spine, elbow and pelvis. Two people died.

Places to monitor snow buildup include around combustion air intakes, gas meters and hazards from large icicles. Keep exit doors and windows free of ice and snow so they can be used during an emergency.

Twin Cities area fire departments also recently asked for the public's help in digging out the metro area's many fire hydrants. There should be at least a foot clear around hydrants, down to the ground and out to the street. This simple act can save both lives and property.

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