Heavy snow on roof forces evacuations at Metcalf South - KCTV5

Heavy snow on roof forces evacuations at Metcalf South Shopping Center

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

Fire crews evacuated a local department store Wednesday because they're worried the roof could come down.

Employees at the Macy's at Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park, KS, called authorities about 10:30 a.m. when managers noticed sagging ceiling tiles. When firefighters arrived, they assessed the situation and decided the safest thing to do was to evacuate.

"It's anywhere from 3 to 4 feet of snow that's on various parts of the roof," said Overland Park Battalion Chief Julie Harper. "

The store's roof drooped to roughly four feet lower than the outer cement walls. Officials said 3 to 4 feet of wet snow was sitting on top of the roof. One firefighter explained that it looked like a bowl and the snow has no way to escape.

Firefighters are looking at one spot in particular and said it is a localized problem. Chopper5 was over the scene Wednesday evening and showed workers on the roof removing snow.

Crews checked the rest of the mall and concluded that only Macy's was affected - no other areas of the shopping center were evacuated.

"Right now, we feel comfortable this is the local issue and not catastrophic," Harper said.

The store called in structural engineers as authorities continue to investigate. The building's maintenance staff, along with the structural engineers, formulated a plan to clear snow from the affected area for further assessment. The store will remain closed until the assessment is completed.

No injuries were reported.

Harper said so much snow piling up is creating stress on roofs across the area.

"If it stays below freezing, there's not much melt so we have snow load on a lot of roofs," Harper said.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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