Yakima Fire Department Public Information Officer Jeff Pfaff, sent out a warning today to Yakima Valley residents regarding weather quickly warming combined with the ice, rain and snow we have accumulated this winter.

From the press release, Pfaff said that "it can create other problems that most don't pay attention to until it is too late. Roof problems can include leaks, cracks, and even collapse. With no warning the roof can fail causing collapse. This warm up, with the weight of the snow load, can cause a greater risk of collapse, without warning.”

Roofs at greater risk include:
Lightweight structures: such as sheds, carports, garages
Commercial structures: with long truss spans
Residential homes: that have large drifts of snow or ice dams built up

All of these are at a greater risk of the potential for collapse. A more rapid warm up, along with the existing deep snow, can create more ice, adding weight to the building’s support system. Add in the fact that normal roof drains on commercial structures can be frozen over creating a large, heavy pool of water, then ice, on the roof.

We urge people to be diligent in paying attention to cracks, leaks, and buildup on their building roofs that were not there before.” said Pfaff.

Another risk with a rapid warm up is the snow that is right next to your home. That snow can turn to water that gets into crawl spaces, basements and levels below ground. “Keep an eye on every level.”

If you have leaks inside your home, cracks in the walls or ceiling that are new, you should contact your insurance company, or if you rent, your landlord / property manager right away.

Pfaff also stated, “Some of the first structural collapses that we see is typically carports. They can be dangerous as they are a roof with four poles and no walls to add additional support to the roof.”
The photo above  is from this morning when Engine 92 responded to a roof collapse. The resident was hit by the carport roof but was not seriously injured.