Top heavy: Avoiding a roofmageddon
The recent snowmageddon appeared in danger of causing a roofmageddon for the owners of 206 West Market Street, but police and firefighters blocked off the street Tuesday morning so that building inspectors could examine the flat roof of the 93-year-old building.
Studio 206 owner Chris Friedman, who said she had noticed the ceiling in her dance studio beginning to bow, called officials earlier February 16. While she was eventually told her business must close until repair work gets completed, she realized that things could have been far worse.
“I’m just happy to get this taken care of before any more damage was done,” said Friedman, who owns the building with jewelry designer Lee Marraccini, whose studio is on the first floor.
City building inspector Tom Elliott said that the trusses that spanned the roof had begun to give, and that the roof had sagged nearly 18 inches. He couldn’t immediately say whether if it was caused entirely by the snow, but suspected that as the main cause.
As firefighters secured the stucture, Friedman and Marraccino were busy on their cell phones trying to line up a contractor.
Last week, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management warned that “back-to-back storms create extra stress, especially on flat roofs," a warning delivered three days after a large part of the roof of the then-unoccupied 84 Lumber building near the corner of Seminole Trail collapsed.
“Owners and residents of flat roof buildings in particular are urged to be aware of the possible snow load danger,” the Department noted in a February 9 release. “ The threat from heavy snow weight will remain for some time after the storm ends because cold temperatures expected for the rest of the week won’t allow much melting to occur.”