Minnesota State Fair Roof Collapse

Courtesy: KARE 11
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SAINT PAUL, Min. (KARE) -- The roof of a cattle barn at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds collapsed, damaging the building and items stored inside.

The Saint Paul Fire Department said the collapse was caused by a combination of unique roof design and heavy amounts of snow.

"We had sort of an avalanche effect that occurred yesterday," said Roy Mokosso St. Paul Fire Department Spokesperson. Before the rain on Tuesday March 12, The snow on the cattle barn sat quietly for weeks.

"Snow and water weighs roughly eight pounds per gallon," said Mokosso. This put thousands of pounds of extra weight on an already old and stressed roof.

The collapse not only damaged the building that dates back to 1920, but dozens of food stands, RV's and trailers stored inside.

Firefighters said other buildings on the grounds may also be at risk.

"They are evaluating all their structures and obviously similar buildings are also being looked at. The age of buildings also moves them up on priority lists as well," said Mokosso.

Saint Paul Fire Department spokesperson Roy Mokosso said they're not worried about any building in particular right now, but they had at least one roofing crew on site clearing snow. That may work for the smaller buildings he says, but the large ones like the Grandstand, there's little they can do.

"The Grandstand has some very high roofs. Even if an issue was identified there’s not much can be done to mitigate it, except for wait for the weather," said Mokosso.

Mokosso said county fairs and farmers should also be on alert, checking open air buildings and barns at least once a day during this rain. Collapses like that he said can happen at even homes and businesses and owners need to be prepared.

"Every building and building construction succumbs to weather....and this just happens as one of our many change of seasons occurs," said Roy Mokosso.