|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2011
|Contact: J. William Degnan
State Fire Marshal
Max Schultz, District Chief
State Fire Marshal Warns of Building Collapse Danger
State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan announced today that with up to 20 inches of snow in the forecast combined with other recent snowstorms, there is a greater urgency to clear roofs of snow and ice that has accumulated in recent weeks. A roof may collapse with little or no warning and one common misconception is that only flat roofs are susceptible to collapse. The amount of snow that a roof can hold varies greatly depending on the water content of the snow and the structural load capabilities of your home or building. Therefore, it is important to keep your roof as clear as possible. The following are some of the warning signs that have been reported prior to roof failure:
- Sagging roof steel that is visually deformed
- Cracked or split wood structural members
- Sprinkler heads pushed down below ceiling tiles
- Doors that pop open
- Doors or windows that are difficult to open
- Bowed walls, utility pipes or conduit attached at ceiling
- Creaking, cracking or popping sounds
Previous year's fire and building collapse investigations have determined that gas service to some buildings was damaged due to heavy snow loads and snow sliding off of roofs onto gas meters and components. Fires and explosions have been caused by this damage in past years resulting in loss of life. The State Fire Marshal urges all citizens to do the following:
- Clear roofs of excessive snow and ice buildup, being careful not to damage gas and oil service to the building. Snowblowers and snowplows can damage gas lines and meters. Keep the gas meters and components clear of snow.
- Keep all chimneys and vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building. Some vents, such as pellet stove vents, may exit the building through a wall and are susceptible to being blocked by excessive snow buildup on the outside of the building.
- Keep all exits clear of snow so that occupants can escape quickly if a fire or other emergency should occur. Keep in mind that windows should be cleared to allow a secondary means of escape in case the primary means of escape is blocked by fire. Keeping exits clear also allows emergency workers to access your building.
Specific fire and building safety questions can be answered by local fire and building officials or by contacting the State Fire Marshal's Office at 223-4289. For information on roof snow load requirements in your community, view the report at the following Web site link: www.senh.org/committee%20reports/tr02-6.pdf .
TO REPORT A BUILDING COLLAPSE TO THE NH STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE ELECRONICALLY, PLEASE GO TO:
NHFMO BUILDING COLLAPSE REPORTING SYSTEM (BCRS)
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