Heavy snow causes Upper Midwest roofs to collapse
Minneapolis – Heavy, wet snow that fell over the weekend in parts of the Upper Midwest caused roof collapses at a church, hotel, gas station and some homes.
There were no reported serious injuries caused by the collapses, which happened after more than a foot of snow fell in some places.
In Minnesota, part of the roof over the kitchen area gave way at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Moorhead at around noon on Sunday. The two people inside got out safely.
On the church’s Facebook page, director of music and worship Bonnie Lee wrote, “A Sunday morning miracle! Praise God! This morning the roof over the parish center collapsed on our beautiful church. As terrible as it was, no one was hurt.”
In Winona, the ceiling above the pool at a Holiday Inn Express collapsed Sunday morning. No one was hurt. In Plainview, the roof of a building housing classic cars collapsed Saturday.
A man pumping gas at a service station in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was injured Sunday when the canopy over the pumps collapsed.
“He said he heard noises above him and looked ahead and people were running away,” said Joe Kelly, Eau Claire Fire & Rescue battalion chief. “He tucked back inside (the car.)”
The man was able to free himself from the car after the collapse and was transported to a hospital with minor injuries, Kelly said. Police looked at surveillance camera footage to determine that no other people were under the wreckage.
In White Lake, the roof of the fire station collapsed trapping emergency response vehicles underneath early Sunday.
Also Sunday, more than a dozen people working at RJ Corman, a railroad service company in West Fargo, North Dakota, escaped injury when the roof gave way. Firefighters checked for gas leaks afterward, as the biggest issue following a roof collapse is the potential for an explosion, according to West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller.
Also in West Fargo, a partial roof collapse at a trailer manufacturer touched off a fire when a gas line was sheared. Officials say the collapse caused significant damage to the offices at Trail King Industries. No one was in the building at the time.