At least 40 people have been killed and another 27 injured after a snow laden roof gave way under approximately 20 inches of snow. Terrorism has been practically ruled out as a cause, based on assumptions that the accident was completely structural in nature.
For TFM‘s coverage of roofing maintenance, see “Aerial View” from the archives.
As many as 150 were inside the market during the accident, which is comprised of numerous market stalls. According to Associated Press Reporter Steve Gutterman,
Investigators were looking at three possible causes of the collapse: Improper maintenance of the building, a buildup of snow and errors in the building’s design, Moscow prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev said.
Ekho Moskvy radio said the entire roof, covering an area of about 2,400 square yards, had fallen onto the market stalls.
“The main task now is not to let the building collapse further,” said Yuri Akimov, deputy head of the Moscow department of the Emergency Situations Ministry.
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said the roof was designed to clear itself of snow. “The roof was designed to take a large amount of snow cover, and there was a special gutter pipe that was always left open so the melted snow could run down, so there was no special need to have the roof cleared of snow,” the mayor told reporters.
Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation on charges of negligence leading to the deaths of two or more people, RIA-Novosti said.
Interfax said that the market had been designed in the 1970s by Nodar Kancheli, the same architect who drafted the plans for Moscow’s Transvaal water park, where the roof collapsed in February 2004, killing 28 people. Prosecutors have blamed that collapse on design flaws.