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Heavy snow continues to take its toll

February 20, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

Heavy snow from last weekend's storm knocked over a chimney on a courthouse Wednesday, caused part of a roof to collapse on a Shepherdstown church and caused officials to take measures to prevent further problems.

Wednesday morning, a section of ice and snow slid down the roof of the Jefferson County Courthouse and knocked over a chimney on the building, said Jesse Jones, chief deputy of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

The remains of the chimney fell onto a parking lot below, but no one was struck, said Jefferson County Administrator Leslie Smith.


Smith said she did not believe the chimney was being used. It was unclear what will be done to repair the damage to the courthouse, which is in downtown Charles Town, Smith said.

At Charles Washington Hall at the intersection of George and Washington Streets, a slab of snow began sliding over the edge of the building's roof. To prevent anyone from being hit by snow, city officials cordoned off the entrance to the building with yellow tape, said city building inspector Scott Coyle.

Shu Chen restaurant is on the first floor of the city-owned building.

Yellow ribbon was draped around portions of city hall and the courthouse, Coyle said.

Officials at the Wal-Mart store along U.S. 340 just north of Charles Town had a structural engineer examine the roof of the building, said Gary Sowers, co-manager of the store.

The engineer said the roof should be fine, although he suggested that store officials cut some channels in the snow on the roof in case of heavy rains this weekend, Sowers said.

The engineer said cutting channels in the snow will help water drain off the roof, Sowers said.

On Wednesday, workers cut 2-foot channels about every 6 to 9 feet along the roof, Sowers said.

At a church in Shepherdstown, W.Va., a chimney fell over and a section of the building's roof collapsed, emergency rescue officials said.

The section of roof, which was about 10 feet by 30 feet, collapsed when snow from two angled roofs slid onto a flat section of roof at the Christ Reformed Church on East German Street, rescue officials said.

The flat section of roof was already weighed down by two air conditioning units, rescue officials said.

The section of roof did not fall to the floor but was sagging, officials said.

Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department members responded to the church and a volunteer firefighter worked Wednesday night to shore up the sagging section, said Fire Chief Leon Catrow.

Staff writer Candice Bosely contributed to this story.

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