New Hampshire warns of snow-related roof collapses

CONCORD, N.H. — With the recent snow and wind, there is a greater urgency to clear roofs of accumulated snow and ice, state Fire Marshal J. William Degnan announced Wednesday.

A roof might collapse with little or no warning, and one common misconception is that only flat roofs are susceptible to collapse.

When should the snow be cleared from a roof? The depth and weight of snow varies greatly from one area of the state to another. Roofs are designed to carry the normal snow load for a specific location as specified in the state Building Code (

The recent snowfall and high winds might cause snow on one side of the roof to be clear and the other side to have a large drift, which makes it more susceptible to collapse.

Also, taking all the snow off one side, but not off the other, will have the same effect.

If at any time you think your roof might have been compromised, consult with a reputable builder and a local building or fire official.

The state fire marshal urges all citizens to: Clear roofs of excessive snow and ice buildup, being careful not to damage your roof, utility wires, gas lines and vents; keep all chimneys and vents clear to prevent a carbon monoxide backup.

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.


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