Barn roof collapses under weight of wet snow

Grand Haven Township, pole barn roof collapse
The roof of this pole barn in Grand Haven Township collapsed because of heavy, wet snow. (Jan. 10, 2018)

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — After the lakeshore was pummeled with record-breaking lake-effect snow in recent weeks, the January thaw has caused new problems.

The meltdown is weighing down the light and fluffy snow that piled up on roofs. In Grand Haven Township, the extra weight caused the roof of a pole barn to collapse.

Sarah Austin was sound asleep Wednesday morning when her husband rushed upstairs with the news: “The roof is in the pole barn.”

It was a big loss. The roof crashed into the couples’ truck.

“Everything that he has and owns in his life is in there,” Sarah Austin said. “It’s pretty much, pretty much a total loss.”

Contractor Ronald Slater Jr. and his team are the guys who get called when someone’s barn or garage roof comes down.

“The trusses came down, heavy snowload,” Slater explained the collapse. “(It) was really heavy snow on top of the snow that was already there, and then we add rain to the mix, and adds a bunch of weight.”

He said regular upkeep is key to prevent problems.

“I would suggest to anyone to keep the snow off the roof,” Slater said. “If they would have maintained it before we got that heavy mix of snow — I mean, that snow was heavy, I would guess every shovelful was about 50 pounds.”

Slater said that when clearing off your roof, you should always use a sturdy ladder and harness yourself to the structure for safety. He said that if you climb up onto the roof yourself, roofing companies can do the work for you.

You should also keep an eye out for warning signs like cracking in the trusses, the roof making popping noises, sudden leaking and sags on the roof sheeting.



Storm Team 8 Forecast

Get the free Storm Team 8 app

Sign up for school closing text or email alerts