Saturday, 2:15 PM
Snow collapses N.H. factory that once made presidential Easter eggs
By Kate Augusto, Globe Correspondent
Heavy snow on the roof caused the collapse this morning of a former woodworking factory in Laconia, N.H., that once made wooden eggs for the presidential Easter egg hunt.
No one was inside the 100-by-60-foot brick factory on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee when the building gave way, said Chief Kenneth Erickson of the Laconia Fire Department.
Some 20 buildings -- including three in Laconia -- have collapsed in the Lakes Region in the past two weeks because more than 12 feet of snow have fallen this year. In Rochester today at 10:30 a.m., the roof of a former dance studio caved under the weight of the snow. Early Monday morning, the roof of an industrial building also collapsed.
The Laconia factory that collapsed this morning was originally called the Allen Rogers building and had been closed for at least 10 years, Erickson said. The factory used to make toothpicks and bowling pins, in addition to the eggs for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House.
The building had been under renovation for the last two years by Chinburg Builders, who were converting it into a residential complex. The ongoing renovations may have weakened the structure and played a role in the collapse if any major supports were removed from the building, Erickson said.
Recent storms have left 4 to 5 feet of snow on some buildings, and the fire department has been urging property owners to shovel their roofs.
In Rochester, the former dance studio was unoccupied this morning when the roof collapsed, said fire Captain Mark Avery. The single-story, wood frame building on Milton Road completely collapsed under 2.5 feet of snow on the roof. Fire marshal Richard Giguere estimated that the snow added 153,000 pounds of pressure, causing the wood rafters to crumble. Two renters who lived in an apartment in the building will not be allowed to return.
“We had to condemn the building,” Giguere said. “We’re not allowing the individuals to go back.”
On Monday, no one was hurt when the industrial building collapsed.
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