Roof collapses in western Mass

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Our back to back winter storms have some western Massachusetts residents hitting their rooftops, trying to clear the snow. While it’s a good idea to get the snow off the roof, it might not be the best idea to do it yourself.

As snow the snow starts to accumulate, it adds excess weight onto your roof, and sometimes, it’s too much to handle. Thursday, an eastern Massachusetts woman was killed after a snow pileup caused her car port to collapse.

22News spoke with a roofing expert who tells us the snow isn’t actually the worst part.

“You really got to be concerned about rain on top of a foot of snow or two feet of snow, and particularly if the snow was even wet snow that had a lot of moisture content when it fell,” said Tom Ewing, a roofing contractor with Ewing Associates in Longmeadow.

The snow absorbs water like a sponge, and the extra water weight could cause a roof to cave in.  Ewing told 22News he advises residents not to go up on the roof to remove the snow themselves. It’s dangerous.

“Yea, there’s a lot of ice underneath, so you could fall off pretty easily, I was close,” said Dave Potvin of Chicopee.

It’s those icy conditions that led professionals to suggest using a snow rake if you want to clean off your roof yourself.

“You just extend poles and rake it down. You don’t want to get on the roof with ice, I did in the beginning of the year but not now,” said Kevin Malloy of Chicopee.

Contractors say if you do notice a leak, or if your roof appears to be sinking,  that’s the time you call a professional rather than start a do-it-yourself project. They told 22News flat roofs pose the greatest risks because the snow can accumulate without ever sliding off.  Experts say upcoming cold air could also cause slush and runoff to freeze over, so to be careful of icicles hanging from your home.

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