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Roof caves at Oregon elementary school, prompting evacuations and district-wide closures

School roof collapse. (Bend Firefighters Local 227)

BEND, Ore. (KATU) - City officials in Bend, Oregon, have closed down all schools in the Bend-La Pine district after a elementary school's roof collapsed Thursday morning under the weight of a recent snowstorm.

Authorities said no students or staff were hurt when the roof of the gymnasium caved at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School. The gym was apparently empty at the time of the collapse, and students and staff promptly evacuated the rest of the building.

The district announced that all schools would be closed for a safety assessment in light of the heavy snow totals in the area. They'd remain closed the rest of the week -- and until structural engineers could take a look at each school, per a statement from Bend fire officials.

Traffic crews set up detours and closed down Newport, Nashville and Harmon Boulevard, a release said.

According to firefighters, this is one of several roof failures or collapses just in the Bend area since the snowstorm. In Hillsboro Thursday morning, a warehouse roof collapsed with multiple people sleeping inside.


If you suspect your roof might not hold up under the weight of the heavy snow totals, call a roof contractor. You can try to knock down the snow yourself, but it's a dangerous task as the angle of the roof could cause a mini-avalanche and send you off a ladder or knock you off balance on the roof. (Not to mention the slippery conditions in general.)

According to disaster specialists, pitched residential roofs can generally support 10-12 inches of fresh snowfall, but anything above that is a danger for a standard roof.

Also, as snow gets old and packs down, it doesn't lose much of its weight. Be careful with repeated snow events piling fresh snow on old, compacted snow because those inch totals will skew toward the heavier side.

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