New Jersey roof collapses blamed on heavy snow

Toni Yates has the report from Woodland Park.
February 14, 2014 8:32:03 PM PST
Part of the roof of a mason lodge collapsed in Somerville, New Jersey Friday evening, the latest in a series of collapses across the New York area blamed on heavy snow.

The roof at Doughty Avenue collapsed at about 5:30 p.m. as the result of snow accumulation.

Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher said there were no injuries.

The two people in the building at the time were already out when emergency crews arrived on the scene.

The building has been cordoned off.

The roof of an apartment building collapsed Devon Street in Kearny overnight, forcing more than a dozen residents oot of their homes.

Officials say 16 people from 10 families were left homeless, and the Red Cross was helping them relocate. The gas and electricity have been turned off, and police officers and the fire department were on scene and had the entire area sealed off due to concerns of further collapse.

"It was a couple of noises, and then all of a sudden, a ba-boom," resident Julie Smith said.

The fire department secured the area, and evacuated the next door apartments.

"It was just very scary, trying to keep your cool, especially for my daughter," she said. "Now we want to go inside, get some clothes and stay with family."

Authorities were afraid the walls could start to buckle, which could lead to the entire structure falling apart.

"People are very frightened, upset, scared," Kearny police sergeant John Manley said. "They're worried about their belongings, and like I said, other than that, we're very lucky here that nobody was injured."

There were other collapses as well, including a garage that crumbled underneath the snow in the Ozone Park section of Queens.

And in Monroe, New Jersey, the roof of a strip mall collapsed late Thursday. No one was injured when the roof of the Texas Road Pharmacy caved in just before 9:30 p.m.

In Jersey City, a roof collapse damaged a Verizon building and caused a large section of cinderblock wall to give way.

Three people inside were treated for minor injuries. Verizon officials say most workers were out on jobs when the collapse occurred.

About a dozen trucks inside the building were damaged beyond repair, and some of the employees' personal cars were crushed. PSE & G and United Water crews responded to the scene to repair a water main leak caused by the collapse.

In Nanuet, Rockland County, there was a partial business collapse and fire Thursday night the Westrock Tennis Center. When officials arrived, they found the partially-collapsed structure and gas-fed fire at the youth sports facility. No one was inside at the time, and there were no injuries.

The roof of a Kohl's store caved in Woodland Park just after 3:00 a.m.

Workers wear harnesses, tethered to cranes, to chop through snow at least a foot and a half deep that covered the roof of the store on Friday.

When the ceiling caved in, the sprinklers went off sending the fire department to the scene.

The ShopRite on River Road in New Milford had to be evacuated and closed after the ceiling buckled under the weight of its snow-capped dome.

"We had the fire department check it out. There is also a wall cracked. We'll have engineers come out," New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro said.

For workers, off until the store reopens, snow days mean something very different now.

"As a kid, this would have been the best day ever. As a man, I hate it," Luke Walthoff said.

"Yeah, I'm ready for this to be all over," Greg Capone said.

The Frank W. Gavlak Elementery School in Wallington had a partial collapse of its gymnasium roof, and a worker inside a commercial building in Rockaway barely escaped when he heard the roof cracking just prior to a collpase.

Police in Clarkstown also reported the partial collapses of a detached garage and a commercial building in Congers. No injuries were reported in either incident.