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Snow collapses roof

This winter’s heavy snow proved to be too much for two buildings in the Town of Pulaski this past weekend as their roofs gave way, leaving both total losses and prompting the need for a hazardous materials cleanup at one structure.
Although both of the buildings, a Conny Oil warehouse and the former Dew Drop Inn, were old structures, town and county officials are advising residents and business owners to watch for signs of fatigue on all roofs due the weight of the snow they are bearing right now.
Pulaski Fire Marshal Chip Hutchinson said a call was received around 10 p.m. Friday that the Conny Oil building at 425 Commerce Street had collapsed. When officials arrived on the scene, they discovered the roof of the company’s warehouse had fallen in and punctured some chemical containers..
Conny Oil is a distributor of oil products, including motor and heating oils and transmission and hydraulic fluids. Hutchinson said it is estimated the warehouse contained about 100 55-gallon drums and 300 five-gallon buckets of oil products, plus some cardboard boxes containing individual containers of oil.
“When the roof fell, it fell on some of (the containers) and they’re leaking,” he said.
Hazardous Material officer Jack Tolbert, and Willie Richardson and Stan Crigger with Virginia Department of Emergency Management, joined Pulaski Fire Department, the fire marshal’s office, county emergency services and the business owner were on site Monday, assessing the situation.
He said they are trying to remove the roofing debris from the chemical containers to determine how many were punctured and are leaking.
“Some of the containers have been damaged and are leaking and there may be others, we hope, that aren’t damaged. Either way they have to go in and assess (the situation) and do what they need to do to get it cleaned up.”
An environmental contractor will handle the cleanup of leaking chemicals. Another contractor certified in asbestos removal also is responding to the scene.
“This will probably go on for several days,” Hutchinson said. “This is nothing that will be finished in a day or two.”
He said Conny Oil’s gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and fuel oil storage was not affected by the collapse.
Assistant Pulaski County Administrator Rober Hiss said, “The good news is everything was contained to the site. It’s not a danger or health issue to any neighbors or surrounding entities. That’s one of the reasons we brought these people on the site to get it contained and disposed of as quickly as possible.”
Hutchinson said the leaking oil products haven’t “left the footprint of the building itself yet. That’s why we have the environmental contractor in case it does. … Chances are real slim it will get into the creek or onto someone else’s property. But we don’t want to take a chance.”
In order to avoid a fire, Hutchinson said Appalachian Power Company was called to disconnect the electricity to the building Friday night.
Hiss said the county also has received reports of collapses of old and unstable roofs and roofs, and awnings built of weak metals throughout the county. As a result, the county issued a public safety message to warn citizens of the danger that could be posed by this “unusually heavy snow.”
Hiss said flat roofs are also potentially a problem if they haven’t been maintained recently
Hutchinson said citizens should watch for sagging roofs, cracks in walls and the sound of popping in the structure’s frame or roof. If any of these warning signs are noticed “that’s a pretty good sign they ought not be in” the structure.
Anyone concerned their roof or structure may be about to collapse should get out of the structure and call 911, the locality’s fire marshal, a fire department, a building official or “whoever needs to come look at it and see if it’s a problem. If it is we’re going to have to make arrangements for them to stay somewhere else” until the problem is corrected.
Hiss also warned against trying to remove snow from a roof.
“As tempting as it may be to get on the roof to try to remove the snow, we’re advising people to not do that,” he said.
“(Snow has) already weakened it. If you add a normal sized person, that’s just adding more weight to (the roof) and can end up bringing it down anyway,” Hutchinson added.
He said all area building inspectors have been made aware of what’s going on so they know what they’re checking if they’re called about a potential hazard.
Hutchinson said no monetary estimate has been placed on the damage from the weekend’s collapses.
He said authorities still have not been able to locate John Boysaw, who owns the former Tim & Eddie’s Place or Dew Drop Inn building at the intersection of Randolph Avenue and Johnson Street.

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Snow collapses roof

This winter’s heavy snow proved to be too much for two buildings in the Town of Pulaski this past weekend as their roofs gave way, leaving both total losses and prompting the need for a hazardous materials cleanup at one structure.
Although both of the buildings, a Conny Oil warehouse and the former Dew Drop Inn, were old structures, town and county officials are advising residents and business owners to watch for signs of fatigue on all roofs due the weight of the snow they are bearing right now.
Pulaski Fire Marshal Chip Hutchinson said a call was received around 10 p.m. Friday that the Conny Oil building at 425 Commerce Street had collapsed. When officials arrived on the scene, they discovered the roof of the company’s warehouse had fallen in and punctured some chemical containers..
Conny Oil is a distributor of oil products, including motor and heating oils and transmission and hydraulic fluids. Hutchinson said it is estimated the warehouse contained about 100 55-gallon drums and 300 five-gallon buckets of oil products, plus some cardboard boxes containing individual containers of oil.
“When the roof fell, it fell on some of (the containers) and they’re leaking,” he said.
Hazardous Material officer Jack Tolbert, and Willie Richardson and Stan Crigger with Virginia Department of Emergency Management, joined Pulaski Fire Department, the fire marshal’s office, county emergency services and the business owner were on site Monday, assessing the situation.
He said they are trying to remove the roofing debris from the chemical containers to determine how many were punctured and are leaking.
“Some of the containers have been damaged and are leaking and there may be others, we hope, that aren’t damaged. Either way they have to go in and assess (the situation) and do what they need to do to get it cleaned up.”
An environmental contractor will handle the cleanup of leaking chemicals. Another contractor certified in asbestos removal also is responding to the scene.
“This will probably go on for several days,” Hutchinson said. “This is nothing that will be finished in a day or two.”
He said Conny Oil’s gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and fuel oil storage was not affected by the collapse.
Assistant Pulaski County Administrator Rober Hiss said, “The good news is everything was contained to the site. It’s not a danger or health issue to any neighbors or surrounding entities. That’s one of the reasons we brought these people on the site to get it contained and disposed of as quickly as possible.”
Hutchinson said the leaking oil products haven’t “left the footprint of the building itself yet. That’s why we have the environmental contractor in case it does. … Chances are real slim it will get into the creek or onto someone else’s property. But we don’t want to take a chance.”
In order to avoid a fire, Hutchinson said Appalachian Power Company was called to disconnect the electricity to the building Friday night.
Hiss said the county also has received reports of collapses of old and unstable roofs and roofs, and awnings built of weak metals throughout the county. As a result, the county issued a public safety message to warn citizens of the danger that could be posed by this “unusually heavy snow.”
Hiss said flat roofs are also potentially a problem if they haven’t been maintained recently
Hutchinson said citizens should watch for sagging roofs, cracks in walls and the sound of popping in the structure’s frame or roof. If any of these warning signs are noticed “that’s a pretty good sign they ought not be in” the structure.
Anyone concerned their roof or structure may be about to collapse should get out of the structure and call 911, the locality’s fire marshal, a fire department, a building official or “whoever needs to come look at it and see if it’s a problem. If it is we’re going to have to make arrangements for them to stay somewhere else” until the problem is corrected.
Hiss also warned against trying to remove snow from a roof.
“As tempting as it may be to get on the roof to try to remove the snow, we’re advising people to not do that,” he said.
“(Snow has) already weakened it. If you add a normal sized person, that’s just adding more weight to (the roof) and can end up bringing it down anyway,” Hutchinson added.
He said all area building inspectors have been made aware of what’s going on so they know what they’re checking if they’re called about a potential hazard.
Hutchinson said no monetary estimate has been placed on the damage from the weekend’s collapses.
He said authorities still have not been able to locate John Boysaw, who owns the former Tim & Eddie’s Place or Dew Drop Inn building at the intersection of Randolph Avenue and Johnson Street.

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