Snow Crushes Roofs in Scranton

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SCRANTON -- All the melting snow has made for a busy few days for demolition crews in the city of Scranton.

They've been sent to take care of three collapsed roofs. The most recent, a garage that damaged four cars when it crumbled under the heavy snow.

City officials said the roof on Gunster Avenue and Ward Place gave in under the weight of the snow pack.

Edward Goralewski doesn't usually park his minivan next to the garage, but he thinks his rental van was in the right place at the right time Wednesday night. It may have prevented someone from being hurt when the garage roof came crashing down.

"We came home and I saw my daughter was blocking the driveway here, so I said, 'Let me park the van here for a second so I can back my daughter's car out and pull the van in. So I got side tracked," Goralewski said.

Then Goralewski heard a rumble and crash. He came outside to find the garage he parked next to collapsed. The debris fell on his van, and the roof crushed three cars inside the garage.

Scranton inspection officials blamed the heavy snow and ice.

DPW crews then spent the day starting a demolition. Neighbors watched and many had to look away when they drove the minivan out from underneath.

That family isn't alone in their troubles. A garage in south Scranton had its roof collapse too, and Scranton city officials said it's one of three in just the last few days.

Scranton's Director of Licensing, Inspections, and Permits, Pat Hinton, said his office has been bogged down this week, like the roofs have been, cleaning up buildings that have collapsed under the weight of the snow.

"It takes us away from other duties that we could be focusing on. We have no choice but to face these issues because sometimes it does become a public safety hazard," Hinton said.

Newswatch 16 Chief Meteorologist Tom Clark said there's about an inch of water in the snow pack we have now. Snow on your roof could weigh 30-50 pounds per cubic foot.

That weight adds up, and Scranton city officials are urging people to keep an eye on flat roofs especially, but if you see a problem, it's best to call a professional.