ALBERTA

Sylvan Lake Arena Roof Collapses, Pat Sawyer Narrowly Avoids Serious Injury (PHOTOS)

01/21/2014 01:07 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST
Town Of Sylvan Lake

An employee at the Sylvan Lake arena narrowly avoided serious injury Monday morning, after the roof he was working under collapsed.

The worker was inside the arena at 1 a.m., flooding the ice surface, when he heard strange sounds, spokesperson Joanne Gaudet said.

"At first, two really loud bangs ... and I just kept flooding. And then two more really loud bangs, not aware it was structure giving," Pat Sawyer told CTV Edmonton.

The whole ceiling came down on top of me,” he said, adding that he ducked under the steering wheel of the ice surfacer he was working on, a move he said likely saved his life.

The building, however, is past the point of saving, say town officials.

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Sylvan Lake Arena Roof Collapse

According to Metro Calgary, a full demolition of the building will be required – four years ahead of 2018 plans to bring the building down and rebuild a new leisure centre.

“We obviously didn’t want it to come down so unceremoniously,” Gaudet told Metro.

According to the Calgary Herald, record snowfall has caused more than two dozen roof collapses across central Alberta this winter. Structural engineers are at the arena to determine if heavy snow brought down the roof on the 42-year-old building.

Gaudet told the Herald a special meeting will be held Tuesday night to determine if personal items can be safely retrieved from the building. Teams and groups are also being notified about cancelled or rescheduled ice times.

The City of Red Deer has asked residents to check their homes for snow and ice accumulation and, if it's of concern, to have it removed, especially on flat roofs.