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Snow collapses roofs of several Mass. buildings

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 by John Phillips


Several buildings collapsed around the state Tuesday morning, their roofs caving under the weight of snow that has accumulated through three major storms in recent weeks.

One of the incidents damaged a building that housed a rhinestone-encrusted grand piano once owned by Liberace. Rockland firefighters arrived at 217 Centre Ave. at 6:30 a.m. to find large portions of the roof of the Piano Mill caved in, Fire Chief Scott Duffey said. The store, which sells various musical instruments and offers music lessons, was empty at the time, Duffey said. The collapse caused “thousands upon thousands of dollars’ worth of damage,” Duffey said. The owner of the store told the Associated Press the rhinestone-covered grand piano wasn’t damaged. Rob Norris said after an inspection Tuesday that the piano wasn’t located in the section where the roof caved in. The Liberace piano has 88,888 rhinestones and has been appraised for $500,000.

The incident comes just one day after another collapse, which occurred on Weymouth Street in Rockland Monday morning. About 3½ feet of snow caused the roof of the commercial building to cave in around 8 a.m., Duffey said. People were inside the building then, but everyone escaped and there were no injuries, he said. In Canton, employees were shoveling snow off the roof of a loading dock building Tuesday morning, when there was a partial roof collapse, Fire Chief Charles Doody said. Everyone was able to evacuate the roof immediately and no one was injured, he said. The collapse was reported at 7:15 a.m. at 555 Turnpike St. Doody estimated 5 to 6 feet of snow had been on the roof.

The roof of a vacant building that was once used as a sportsplex came down around 5:57 a.m. in Auburn, Fire Chief Stephen Coleman Jr. said. The building at 5 Saint Mark St. had an arched dome roof with fabric material on the exterior, Coleman said. A building was also destroyed in Abington Tuesday morning, Fire Chief John Nuttall said. The structure at the rear of 171 Brockton Ave. had more than 2 feet of snow on the roof, he said. “The building is a total loss,” Nuttall said. In Hingham, the roof on the historic Lincoln Building on South Street collapsed shortly before 10 a.m., fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

As a result, police, fearing falling debris, cordoned off a one-block area in Hingham’s commercial district. “We’ve had a lot of cancellations today,” said Stacey Tomasello, who works at a skin-care salon near the damaged building. “Usually, this is a pretty lively place. Not today.” The three-story edifice is set to be demolished and replaced.

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