Heavy snow on roof forces evacuations at Kansas City day care - KCTV5 News

Heavy snow on roof forces evacuations at Kansas City day care

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More than 100 children were forced to evacuate a Kansas City metro day care Thursday morning after concerns of a possible roof collapse.

Firefighters were called shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday to the St. Luke's Child Care Center, located at 4231 Pennsylvania Ave., after several employees spotted several ceiling titles were bowing.

The 118 children and 30 staff members were moved from the center to a building across the street, said Laurel Gifford, a spokeswoman with St. Luke's Hospital. Parents were notified and reassured their children were safe.

The fire department looked into the structural integrity of the building, and then cleared the scene.

Instead of shoveling the snow off the roof of the building, crews hope to get some of it melted by pouring hot water on it and heating the building from the inside.

St. Luke's nurse Alisha Shull was dropping off her 18-month-old son Zachary at the St. Luke's day care that's set up for hospital employees, when she learned they were dealing with an emergency of their own.

"Of course every mother was worried about their kid, but they had it under control," Shull said. "There was a lot of people helping and all the kids were very calm. There were plenty of helping hands from the firefighters."

All children and staff were transferred to another children's play area on hospital property.

The cause of the action came when a day care worker looked up and saw some of the ceiling tiles bowing and she didn't want to take any chances of a collapse.

"What the initial reports say is simply the weight of the snow is too much for the building and the ceiling was getting some pressure. There were never any concerns of a building collapse, but we're just being proactive," Gifford said. "Obviously nothing is more important than the safety of children and the staff."

"I know buildings around the city have roofs collapsed so that is scary," Shull said.

It is a scary thing to think about when someone looks at some of the buildings that have caved in from all the snow – like a dance studio in Gladstone, MO, last week. Thankfully, none of the students were inside the studio when the roof collapsed.

Shull said she's just grateful the staff acted quickly to protect the children.

"It's definitely comforting that someone noticed before it became a problem," she said.

"What we have been told is, once the snow off, they think the ceiling will correct itself. After the weight of the snow is taken off we will make a decision if they can come back," Gifford said.

The building where St. Luke's Child Care Center is located is about 23 years old.

Authorities believe the building will be fine once the snow is removed from the roof. Removal will be tricky because the number of people on the roof has to be limited. Workers are removing the snow in eight-foot sections and working along the beams.

Once the snow is completely removed, a determination will be made Friday about when the day care will reopen.

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