Digging out from a major winter storm

Several Buildings Collapse Under Snow

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Several roofs have collapsed from weight of the snow from the blizzard and Gov. Dannel Malloy is asking residents to try to clear the roof of their houses if possible.

    So far, 16 structures in Connecticut have collapsed under the weight of the snow, Malloy said.

    The East Haven Fire Department responded to VJ Industries, 80 Commerce St., in East Haven, on Monday, where there was a partial roof collapse at the back of the building.

    A plow driver working in the area heard the building alarm and called police. 

    There was a smell of natural gas in the building and the fire department shut off the utilities. No one was working in the building when the collapse happened. 

    The front of the building, where the offices are located, does not appear to be impacted, officials said. 

    East Haven responded to a roof collapse on Sunday at 37 Coe Ave., a commercial building, by the beach on Sunday. 

    The dome of the Star Hill Athletic Center collapsed under 33 inches of snow and all activities are canceled through Feb. 15. 

    "Despite around the clock efforts by dozens of people who worked to clear the snow safely from the dome, the volume and the weight of 33+" of snow caused enough damage for the dome to collapse," the company's Web site states.

    Part of the roof of a warehouse at 1260 Newfield St. in Middletown, caved in at 11 a.m. on Saturday. No one was inside at the time.

    Six cows were hurt when the roof of a barn on Jackson Hill Road in Middlefield collapsed on Saturday. Vets were attending to the injured cows. Some cows were unaccounted for as of Saturday evening.

    A vacant warehouse at 30 Old Post Road in Clinton, a former Unilever building, collapsed on Saturday morning. 

    The awning at Play It Again Sports on Queen Street in Southington, also collapsed under weight of snow.

    Simsbury officials are also recommending that residents clear their roofs if possible because rain is expected on Monday.

    The state Department of Consumer Protection issued some tips on hiring someone to clear snow from the roof of your home.

    Don’t hire contractors who go door-to-door, who call, who post notices on bulletin boards, utility poles, or online before you check them out thoroughly. Get references and call them.  Get written estimates before you hire someone.

    While a home improvement registration is not required to remove snow from a roof, it is a good idea to have a reputable registered home improvement contractor who specializes in roofing in order to evaluate the situation.

    Although workers who remove snow are not required to have a home improvement registration, you should take additional precautions when workers are on your property.  The company or individual performing the work should carry their own liability insurance and must be able to produce an insurance certificate as proof.  The certificate should carry the name of the insurance company, and you are urged to call the insurance agency on the certificate to confirm that coverage. If a company is having employees doing the snow removal work, the company should provide evidence that they have worker’s compensation insurance, which the employer is required to carry.   

    To verify if an insurance agent or agency is licensed in Connecticut, visit the Connecticut Insurance Department web page.

    Prices for roof clearing may vary depending upon the nature of the roof. However, there should be a reasonable basis between the size of the roof, the time involved in removing the snow and a comparable, ascertainable hourly rate – such as that for home improvement work – that would normally be charged for similar labor under normal circumstances. Every situation will be different, but the test of whether price gouging occurs will be whether the contractor can justify the price using an objective standard.

    Anyone removing snow from a roof, homeowner or contractor, should be extremely careful of any kind of above-ground wiring and keep all tools away from power lines.