With some areas buried under a monthly total of at least 5 feet of snow, it was an inevitable problem: Parts of buildings and roofs collapsed across Greater Boston on Thursday.

A dramatic rescue played out in Lynn on Thursday morning as two men became trapped in their car when the roof of a 100-by-125 building came crashing down on top of them.

Dozens of firefighters dug through about three feet of snow and then cut their way through roofing planks, insulation, corrugated steel and steel beams before finally reaching the men in their crushed car.

The two employees of THE RIDE — Peter Sullivan of Beverly and Cesar Jimenez of Salem — were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“You can’t describe how lucky someone is in this situation,” said Lynn Deputy Fire Chief James McDonald.

“I’m surprised this is the first one, to be honest with you,” McDonald said just after the rescue.
It might have been the first, but it wasn’t the last roof to collapse Thursday. A warehouse roof in Avon collapsed about noon, according to the Brockton Enterprise. There were no injuries. A third collapse occurred when a portion of a West Bridgewater business came down, again without injuries.

“We’re just at the mercy of the construction of the buildings,” McDonald said.

Collapse warning

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency officials last month warned about the potential for roof collapses.

“Safely reduce the amount of snow on roofs. The stress caused by heavy wet snow can challenge the integrity of the structure,” a MEMA advisory said.

But on warehouse-like structures, it’s not easy.

“If you … consider the size of the buildings in Boston, it’s a manpower-intensive thing to do,” said Lynn Deputy Fire Chief James McDonald.

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