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Snow buckles roofs, WGAL building condemned

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After the nor’easter that dumped snow throughout the region on Thursday, some roofs collapsed including WGAL’s in Lancaster Township, Lancaster County.No one was hurt. But the Lancaster Township Fire Chief, Ron Comfort Jr., says the building is condemned as they determine the extent of the repairs.

“They heard a loud noise, some of the ceiling was starting to come down and they immediately knew something was wrong,” says Steven Roy, assistant fire chief of Lancaster Township Fire Dept. “They’ve reported the problems over the years with drainage on that roof and the pitch and the slope of the roof so obviously we know how much snow is up there now. So if they’ve had drainage problems on the roof before, there’s probably a lot of weight up there.”

Structural engineer Josh Carney of Carney Engineering Group tells FOX43 that most roofs should be able to handle up to two feet of snow with no problem. The biggest warning sign that your roof can’t handle the snow is whether it’s had leaks before.

“Water leaks that can cause damage to the wood which over time weaken its ability to carry the weight,” says Carney.

Wind can cause snow to pile up on some parts of the roof more than others, so the weight isn’t carried equally. A number of houses have gutters overflowing and leaking from the snow melt. But if you think your roof is rotting, it’s not safe to remove the snow yourself.

“There’s really no safe way to deal with it, if it’s already past its safe limit, the best thing to do is just find somewhere else to be until the snow melts,” says Carney.

At WGAL, Comfort says they are concerned that more snow Friday night could add to the weight on the roof.


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