A new threat: cascading snow, ice
February 12, 2008
Already weary from the big snowstorms, Parkites face another threat from the snow left after the storms: ice and snow falling from roofs.
The Park City Police Department reports at least four cases last week involving injuries or damage from cascading ice and snow, including one on Main Street. And officials warn people should not disregard the danger. They say if the snow and ice on a roof gives way, a person could be injured if they are underneath.
The snow is still piled high on many roofs, both on houses and on businesses, as Parkites continue to clear the snow from the city. Streets, sidewalks and paths were the priority for City Hall snowplows, and businesses and homeowners have tried to keep their walkways clear for the most part.
But there have been only scattered attempts to clear roofs, leaving piles of snow and ice on top of some buildings.
"If a large icicle hit you, some of them weigh a ton or more, they can do you in," said Ron Ivie, City Hall’s chief building official.
The most notable of the cases was reported at about noon on Saturday, when ice reportedly fell off the roof of Chloe Lane, the high-end clothing boutique at 556 Main St., and hit a man. Police records show the ice cut the man, who the department does not identify, he went inside to get a towel and then left.
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Chloe Lane official Nancy Nichols said the store cleared the roof the day before, but a small piece of remaining ice fell on the man.
"He was actually fine," Nichols said. "It wasn’t that dramatic."
Some of the other cases reported to the Park City Police Department last week include:
( On Sunday, Feb. 10 at 1:32 p.m., the back window of a Dodge Avenger shattered after snow fell onto it as it was parked on the 200 block of Main Street. The police say the snow fell from a building.
( Also that day, at 12:09 p.m., someone reportedly pushed snow off a roof on the 1100 block of Deer Valley Drive, breaking a condominium window below. The police were told snow streamed into the condominium.
( Earlier on Sunday, at 9:48 a.m., ice fell off a roof on the 1400 block of Park Avenue, smashing a Dodge Ram truck. The truck, a rental, according to the police, was parked off Woodside Avenue when it was hit.
The cases follow after Marianne Cone, a former Park City Councilwoman who lives in Old Town, suffered a broken leg after snow and ice cascaded off her roof, hitting her as she and her husband tried to clear the roof.
City Hall has laws meant to protect people on sidewalks and walkways from snow and ice falling from roofs. Ivie said they are considered public-nuisance laws, and City Hall can require a roof be redesigned or make a building owner more safely manage the snow and ice.
In the past 20 years, Ivie said, City Hall has made strides in making the sidewalks safer from falling snow and ice, including enacting a 1990s law that requires developers draft plans that show where snow is designed to shed off buildings.
More snow is forecast this week, but the amount is not expected to match the historic snowstorms of recent weeks.
Ken Davis, who leads the Main Street merchants, said people in Park City should "be aware" of the buildup of ice and snow, but he said the street remains safe for pedestrians. He said building owners could more aggressively remove the snow and ice before it falls and said other places in Utah are grappling with the same problem.
"They should be removing ice as it is building up," Davis said.