What to know about roof collapses caused by snow, tips from a safety expert

Apr 3, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 9:20 pm

The Cache County Sheriff's Office responded to two snow-related roof collapses on Thursday, Photo c...

The Cache County Sheriff's Office responded to two snow-related roof collapses on Thursday, Photo credit: Cache County Sheriff's Office.

SALT LAKE CITY — With the Beehive State being pelted by snowstorm after snowstorm, many roof collapses have been seen throughout the state. How can homeowners prevent their roofs from collapsing?

Chief Brian Brendal with the Mountain Green Fire Protection District joins Dave and Dujanovic with hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic. He shares guidance on what homeowners should know about roof collapses caused by snow.

Brendal begins the segment by saying the number of homes collapsing due to the weather has been a challenge for the district.

“Certainly, very unusual,” he tells Noriega and Dujanovic. “I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

“Well, I wonder, Chief, how many houses are in danger? Because, I know it’s just incredibly difficult to clean off the roofs to get (the snow) off,” Noriega asks Brendal. “It just builds up storm after storm after storm. Are you concerned that, especially with this latest heavy snow, that there could be many more?”

Brendal says the district is “really considering” the possibility of more weather-related structure collapses.

“We’ve gotten some intel … that there has been significant structural damage to homes,” he says. “It’s really something that you shouldn’t ignore. You really should watch for the signs.”

What to do to prevent roof collapses

Brendal goes on to say that if there is a foot or two of snow on their roof, a homeowner should do something to get it off.

“A lot of the folks are a little complacent because, um, this has never occurred before, but we’ve had record snow now,” he says.

He recommends homeowners rake the snow off their roof, but they must be cautious with how they do it.

“You have to be very cautious about your pole that you’re using,” Brendal says. “That’s usually a metal pole … Those things, you know, conduct electricity and sometimes we have overhead wires.”

Along with this, Brendal recommends homeowners enlist the help of their friends and neighbors. However, they should be sure to not have too many individuals on the roof at one time.

“I drove by a house the other day when there were six people up on the roof,” he says. “That’s kind of a dangerous situation. You’re adding too much weight to the roof.”

He also advises people to talk to their insurance companies, saying they may offer suggestions of someone who knows how to safely sweep snow off of roofs.

If there is a roof collapse

If there is a roof collapse, Brendal says it’s usually in the large open areas of a structure. 

“All three of the (roof collapses) that we have responded to were over the garage,” he says. “But, at the same time … it affects the entire structure.”

He says a roof collapse could push brick out of place or even cause walls to bulge out.

“You’ve got to not ignore the signs and then get out. Get out and stay out,” Brendal says. “Just because the section that you’re in didn’t collapse doesn’t mean that there isn’t a possibility of a secondary collapse. Remember these houses were not constructed for this much snow.”

In the case of a roof collapse, he advises homeowners to call 911.

“Have us come out so that we can assess the structure, but mainly so that we can shut off the gas, shut off the electricity- if it’s safe and try to prevent any further damage,” Brendal says.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Further reading: Park City Fire Department reminds homeowners to check for snow and ice buildup

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


The summer heat record in 2022 for Utah shattered records. As we look to this year, meteorologists ...

Lindsay Aerts

The record-breaking heat of summer 2022 unlikely to repeat in Utah this year

The summer of 2023 was one for the Utah heat record books with a whopping 34 days of triple-digit temperatures.

2 days ago

For one of the first times this spring, the Logan River in Utah has entered flood stage. And it's t...

Adam Small

Utah’s Logan River hits flood stage, more storms expected

Utah's spring rainstorms helped the Logan River move into flood stage, along with the melting snowpack from a banner winter.

8 days ago

A view overlooking Guam's Tumon Bay on Tuesday as Typhoon Mawar closes in.Mandatory (Photo: Junior...

Elizabeth Wolfe and Rob Shackelford, CNN

Typhoon Mawar impacting Guam with heavy rain and damaging winds

In addition to the strongest winds, the northern third of Guam is also seeing the heaviest rainfall.

8 days ago

people walk in downtown salt lake as the sun shines down, temperature in utah may set records again...

Adam Small

Heat could reach record levels within five years, Utah could see more extremes

Last summer set heat records in Utah, and meteorologists say there's a 50% chance that we'll see extreme temperatures again.

14 days ago

Thunderstorms this weekend...

Aimee Cobabe

Thunderstorms coming to Utah, expected to last all weekend

Thunderstorms are expected to move into the Beehive State tomorrow and last all weekend long. None expected to be severe.

27 days ago

Brian Steed was named as the new Great Salt Lake commissioner by Gov. Spencer Cox on Monday, May 15...

Carter Williams,

Record snowpack likely adds 2 years to Great Salt Lake’s long-term outlook, experts say

When taking into account the typical summer loss, he projects that the lake will be about 4,192.5 feet to 4,193 feet by the end of the year, close to current levels.

27 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

What to know about roof collapses caused by snow, tips from a safety expert