Roof Collapse Briefly Traps Massachusetts Fire Captain

NORWOOD, Mass. --

A roof collapse at a snow-covered building in a Norwood business park is just one of more than 100 similar incidents in Massachusetts.

The incident happened at 1400 Providence Highway shortly before 1 p.m.

Norwood Fire Department Capt. George Geary was in building when it collapsed and was trapped briefly. Everyone else was able to escape.

"He was very fortunate. He is OK and accounted for," Norwood Fire Department Chief Michael Howard said.

Officials at Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said about 120 roofs have collapsed in the past week.

Earlier Monday, concerns over a possible roof collapse prompted the evacuation of the Dedham Mall on Providence Highway. Sears, Babies R Us and Old Navy were closed, and employees were asked to leave the building, but no injuries were reported.

Firefighters were on ladders inspecting the roof at about 9 a.m. Officials said they became concerned because the roof over Sears started to buckle.

"Some of the sprinkler heads were hanging a little lower than normal. On places of the roof, there are 5 feet of snow," Dedham Fire Department Deputy Chief Bill Cillinane said.

A structural engineer was brought in to assess the roof. Crews planned to use cranes and buckets to remove the snow from the roof.

The heavy snow continued to be a problem across the state.

A storage building behind Popular Precast Products at 26 North Main St. in Bellingham collapsed Monday under the weight of the snow.

The owner said no one was injured, but the building was destroyed.

In Upton, an unoccupied building on Pleasant Street collapsed Sunday night. The fire chief noticed the collapse Monday morning while on the way to an inspection.

A local tow company took down the rest of the building that was more than 100-years-old.

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