Roof Collapse at Trumbull Tennis Club and Other Roof Collapses in Connecticut after Major Ice Storm

Roof Collapse Milford

February 2, 2011

Trumbull, Conn (WTNH) - After the roof collapsed Tuesday night, what's left of the Tennis Club of Trumbull is a large pile of debris.

The roof came crashing down around 7:30pm. Luckily, the club had closed around 3:00pm due to the bad weather. The owner said that normally the building is full of tennis players.

Firefighters were on the scene late Tuesday night securing any gas leaks. Trumbull Fire Chief Peter Rousso said there is no danger to homes or businesses nearby.

"It looks as though the roof had come in, the walls had fallen in at least 50% of the building, the area out over the tennis courts," Rousso said.

"Nobody got hurt. Nobody got killed. If we didn't cancel, we would have had... all these courts are full, and that front wall came down. If somebody got hurt, this would be a whole different conversation. We will rebuild it," Tennis Club of Trumbull owner Ed Pagano said.

With the weight of snow and ice there have been several collapses throughout the state. Trumbull's First Selectman Tim Herbst is urging people to keep a close watch on their properties for any structural issues, and to keep their rooftops clear of any ice and snow.

Christine Grover, who lives on Main Street near the collapsed building, was standing on the sidewalk moments before the roof caved in."The only way I can describe it is a loud crunching sound," she said. "There were firemen outside and all of a sudden they just ran, then it came down. You heard a loud crash and bricks were flying and a huge cloud of dust like smoke was up in the air."

The Middletown building was one of nearly a dozen throughout Connecticut that completely or partially collapsed after a storm Wednesday dumped sleet and freezing rain on roofs already creaking under record snowfall. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the damage from the storm could have been much worse. "We seemed to have dodged the large ice accumulation, which was our biggest fear," Malloy said during a press conference Wednesday at the state's emergency operations center.

Malloy has said that Connecticut will far exceed financial thresholds for federal aid. On Wednesday, the White House press office announced that personnel with the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been deployed to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and several other states affected by the severe weather in the Northeast and Midwest. A crane was brought to Middletown along with other heavy equipment to clear the debris, and police were estimating that Main Street between Washington and Ferry Street could be closed to traffic for 48 hours.

The third floor of the 120-year-old building - the former St. Aloysius Hall - served as storage space for Oddfellows Playhouse, which Producing Artistic Director Jeffery Allen said must now rebuild its 36 years' worth of props and costumes lost in the collapse. City officials said that they do not know how much snow was on the roof of the building when it collapsed. According to a spokeswoman for Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski, the accounting firm, there were no identified structural problems with the roof before the collapse.

"The building department is going from building to building, checking the attics," Santostefano said. Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said the city evacuated the entire block, and officials were inspecting buildings for any signs of roof collapse. The building across the street at 472 Main St. was evacuated because the occupants heard creaks from the rafters. "It was an old gymnasium. There wasn't even a partition wall to slow it down," Giuliano said of the collapsed building. "The debris went literally across Main Street."

In Waterbury, police searched a vacant former bowling alley that collapsed at 121 N. Main St. in case homeless people were inside, said Capt. Chris Corbett. Corbett said the collapse caused no injuries, and no victims were found during the search, which was done with a state police search and rescue team and a dog.

In Enfield, four people, including an Enfield police officer, exited an auto garage on South Road minutes before the building collapsed, police said. Enfield Fire Department Chief Edward Richards said fire officials were working to stabilize a roof problem at the Retail Brand Alliance that occurred on Tuesday.

Milford firefighters responded to a building collapse at 282 Woodmont Road. The collapse was reported at 10:58 a.m., and one person received minor injuries, police said. State police in Bethany said that a commercial building in Bethany at 20 Sargent Drive had a roof collapse, but that there were no injuries. Southington police Sgt. Lowell DePalma said a roof collapsed at Yarde Metals in Southington about 11:30 a.m. No employees in the warehouse were injured, the company said.

A raised ranch in Somers has been condemned after its roof partially caved in while a resident was in the shower, a fire official said. There were no injuries. The collapse happened at 68 Green Tree Lane about 12:20 p.m., said Deputy Fire Chief Frank Falcone. At the time, a male resident was outside clearing snow and a female resident was in the shower, he said.

Plainville Fire Marshal Larry Sutherland said it "would be a miracle" if the Congregational Church of Plainville were to open for parishioners Sunday after its roof collapsed Tuesday about 5:30 p.m. The portion of the building that collapsed, an addition built in 1969, will probably be demolished, Sutherland said. However, the original structure, built in the 1800s, will be saved. "They have an extreme amount of work to do," Sutherland said.

Meanwhile, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said the city is working to remove the snow that has accumulated from previous storms. Even on heavily traveled streets, such as Asylum Avenue, the snow is still piled up in the travel lanes, causing long traffic delays, and it is not cleared from curb to curb. "The governor sent out plows to help the city,'' Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said, adding that the state plows cleared areas near the entrances and exits of the major highways in Hartford. "The main roads should be plowed, and they're not totally done.''

If you believe you have been injured by improper snow removal, then please contact the law offices of Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney to know your rights.

Excerpts from WTNH and Courant.com.

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