, Salem, MA


February 4, 2011

Danger above

Post-storm roof troubles plague the North Shore

The owner of a Salem auto body shop showed up for work yesterday morning to find that part of the roof at 401 Bridge St. had collapsed overnight.

He wasn't the only person worried about roofs yesterday. Several roof collapses, and the threat of others, kept emergency personnel busy across the North Shore.

The Salem auto body shop is one of several tenants at 401 Bridge St., the last remaining industrial building from a former Sylvania plant.

The building is slated to be demolished this spring as part of the Gateway Center project, a combination office building and senior center scheduled to be built at the corner of Boston and Bridge streets.

Although the building owner, High Rock Bridge St. LLC, is not expected to do extensive repairs, city inspectors told him to make the structure safe enough to allow the businesses to remove machinery and other property.

Another old Sylvania building had problems coping with the massive amount of snow.

In Danvers, Ira Motor Group's auto collision center at 105 Andover St., the roof showed signs of sagging, according to John Hartman, marketing director for the car dealership.

"It didn't collapse," Hartford said. "Based on the amount of snowfall, we evacuated the employees and are calling a company to have the snow removed."

Acting Danvers fire Chief Kevin Farrell said the building is an old Sylvania warehouse that was built in the 1960s, before building codes were in place.

The building's roof wasn't constructed with "much load-carrying steel trusses," the chief said. He estimated close to 15 inches of snow on the flat, 4-acre roof.

Businesses weren't the only ones affected by snow-piled roofs.

In Danvers, St. John's Prep was closed yesterday, while Hamilton-Wenham schools were closed as a precaution after a carport at the Hamilton police station showed signs of buckling Wednesday night. A number of police vehicles were parked outside yesterday while the department waited for a structural engineer to assess the carport, at the rear of Hamilton's public safety building.

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