(NECN: Peter Howe, Holliston/Framingham, Mass.) It was early dismissal Tuesday for 18 workers at FlexHead Industries in Holliston, Mass., after an 8,000-square-foot section of roof collapsed at the fire-sprinkler fixture manufacturer and distributor.
Holliston Fire Chief Michael Cassidy said it happened about 10:50 a.m., and no one was hurt. "The roof just collapsed, straight down,'' Cassidy said. "Absolutely, it's the weight of the snow, the excessive snow load.''
The section of roof that collapsed, equal in size to half a hockey rink, created an explosive pressure that propelled a massive industrial garage door into the snowy yard. "An overhead door was actually blown right off the track and is out in the back yard,'' Cassidy said.
No one from Flexhead was at the plant at mid-day or reachable by phone. Cassidy predicted that "they're probably going to have a business interruption for several weeks before they can make repairs'' and be certified by the town building inspector to move back in.
But like so many other things in business, what's cost for one business person is revenue for another business person -- like a t DeCollibus Auto Body in Framingham, where co-owners Rob and Jerry DeCollibus were busy on a potential $3,000 repair job fixing the roof of a Toyota Camry that caved in. "This vehicle here was the unfortunate victim of a garage that was a little old for its time. The garage caved in on this because of the weight of the snow and ice on it, crushed this roof,'' Rob DeCollibus explained.
They're the third of four generations at the 79-year-old shop and say all these blizzards are bringing bang-up business. "This is going to be our busiest winter in about five or six years,'' Rob DeCollibus said. They're already booked through the end of February, and anyone who gets their car damaged Wednesday in the second round of snow probably can't get it fixed until March.
The lesson here? Chief Cassidy said, "It's not too late now, even with the additional snow coming, to put someone on the roof and to clear it and they just want to be sure they do it in a safe manner.'' What Chief Cassidy and other experts tell us about clearing roofs: avoid using a shovel, because if you accidentally dig into the roof and open up a hole, you can actually do a lot more damage than you prevent. You want to be using a rake or a broom, and if you have no choice but to shovel, keep several inches away from the roof surface and just focus on pushing off as much snow as you can without getting close to the roof itself. With a big, strong, flat-roofed commercial or industrial building, the chief says the safest thing -- if you have the equipment to do it -- is get up there with a snow blower. You stay away from the edge of the roof and let the machine throw the snow off -- so you don't fall off and need the Fire Department to come get you.
With videographer David Jacobs