Official: Heavy ice a possible factor in Alaska gym collapse

    Ice melting from roof by Dave Walker is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

    Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - An Anchorage official says thick, heavy ice had accumulated on the roof of a gym that collapsed earlier this month, killing one person and trapping two others.

    Ross Noffsinger, acting building official for the city, said “tremendous” ice buildup on the roof of the Turnagain CrossFit gym far exceeded the weight listed by the city's design and construction standards, the Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.

    The collapse happened the evening of Feb. 17, during a fitness competition. One woman was killed in the collapse and two others were temporarily trapped. More than 10 people were inside the gym at the time.

    “The roof area in general is quite large, and it looks like a substantial portion of the roof was sloping in that direction,” Noffsigner said, indicating the northeast corner of the building where the gym was located.

    Noffsinger said the city is still waiting on an engineer's structural report and more analysis must be done before officials reach a final conclusion. But he said the weight of the ice may have been more than double the city's design criteria of 40 pounds of snow or ice per square foot.

    A contractor hired by the building owner said that while ice may have been a factor, other issues may have contributed to the collapse. Chuck Dunn of Dunn Contractors and Associates said he is working with a structural engineering company and their analysis will include the building's condition, history, and building materials.

    “We have a lot to determine still, so it’s premature to say what the cause was,” Dunn said.

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