There have been several roof collapses across Quebec in recent days.
The most recent was in Saint-Jérôme, roughly 50 kilometres north of Montreal.
Firefighters were called to a two-storey building on La Salette Boulevard at around 10 p.m. on Saturday.
The mixed-use building houses a butcher shop on the ground floor and seven apartments on the second floor.
The residents made it out of the building before the arrival of emergency crews.
There were no reports of injury but the building will likely need to be torn down, according to Nicolas Stevi, chief of operations for the Saint-Jérôme fire department.
The Red Cross was assisting four of the building’s residents to find alternate accommodations, while two others sought help from family or friends.
On Friday, the roof a grocery store in the Québec City suburb of Lévis also partially collapsed, sending two people to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
Then, on Saturday, an arena in Quebec City was evacuated as a preventative measure after a beam fell. In Trois-Rivières, the roof of a warehouse caved in.
A canine unit specializing in search-and-rescue operations was deployed Trois-Rivières to help search the debris. It was believed a person might have been inside, but officials later confirmed the building was empty.
The roof of a warehouse collapsed in Trois-Rivières on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. Courtesy TVAIt is believed heavy snow and rainfall in the past week may have contributed to the string of recent incidents.
On Sunday, however, the residents of Saint-Jérôme weren’t taking any chances. Global News spotted several people shoveling off their roofs.
St-Jérôme residents clearing snow from the roof of a building on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. Mike Armstrong/Global News
For its part, the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) says that while our roofs are generally built to withstand the heavy snow of Quebec winters, it’s important to remain vigilant when snow accumulation is “exceptional or atypical.”
Signs to watch out for that could indicate stress on the structure include the following:
- Cracks appearing on interior walls
- Inside doors jamming or rubbing against the frame
- Noticeable creaking noises
- Warping or buckling of a ceiling
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In case of multiple signs, the RBQ says the first thing to do is to evacuate the building and then take the necessary measures to have the snow removed from the roof.
While it’s possible to do the job yourself in some cases, the régie strongly recommends hiring qualified professionals to do it for you.
It’s a hazardous operation, the régie warns, “as much for the person who is up on the roof as for anyone who circulates around the house.”
It is also reminding residents to be aware of electrical wires and installations that could be in close proximity when clearing snow.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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