Roof Collapses a Concern in NJ This Winter

By Lauren Wanko

In Rockaway, workers remove office supplies from a machine shop after the building’s roof collapsed. In Sparta, maintenance workers removed snow and ice from the roof of an elementary school. The township schools closed Wednesday after ceiling tiles were found buckling in a classroom. Snow related structural problems temporarily closes a Teaneck post office. Snow, ice and rain are causing problems in buildings all over the state.

“That is a clogged drain. That is where you’re gonna get a roof collapse because if you get a freeze again and more snow, the water is not gonna go down the drain. You’ve already got so much weight for the water coming so that is a big problem,” explained roofer Mark Nejmeh.

NJTV News joined Nejmeh high above Redbank on a commercial building. Nejmeh’s repaired a number of leaks here. The veteran roofer says ice and snow built up and water found every little crack possible. Overlooking Redbank’s busy business district, Nejmeh points out potential roof problems.

“Most of the time you get a roof collapse from poor design originally where this kind of snow was not expected,” said Nejmeh.

Nejmeh — who specializes in roof repairs — typically gets about five calls a day. That shot up to 20 calls a day since the snowstorms became more frequent. Most of those calls are about roof leaks, but what causes a roof to collapse?

“If you get a situation where the drains get clogged and then an excess amount of snow and ice are building up on the roof, then that roof is supposed to hold up that building, that roof and if you do have too much snow and ice you have a collapse,” Nejmeh said.

Roof collapses aren’t the only issue New Jerseyans are facing this winter. Residents continue to worry about flooding. That’s one of the main reasons Ocean Port resident Gerri Lynch isn’t rebuilding just yet.

“It’s very scary,” Lynch said.

Sandy completely devastated her home.

“It’s really the main reason I haven’t started to rebuild my house yet, is just that factor I need to be elevated or else I would be living in fear every time there was a possible storm coming,” Lynch said.

The idea of more flooding is sickening to this storm-weary resident. She’s lived in Fort Monmouth for more than a year.

“I am really just like stick a fork in me, I am done. It’s like stress at every level,” said Lynch.

Other residents say they’ve gotten used to keeping a close watch on potential flooding issues.

“We have a tide clock and we watch for the tides and if the wind is coming from the north or northeast or so forth you get a little concerned and you watch the tide clock and look out the window and watch the tide come in,” said Oceanport resident Sherman Maps.

Despite the recent, wicked winter weather, tomorrow’s expected to be sunny and in the mid-50s, a welcome break for all.