CANTON, Mass. - A youth hockey team escaped injury during a major roof collapse at a Massachusetts skating rink Saturday, reports CBS Boston.
Police in Canton said the rear portion of the roof at the Metropolis Skating Rink began to fail as a Norwood youth team was inside, but they were able to get out along with parents and rink workers. All are safe and accounted for.
Norwood Nuggets coach Chris Sharkey told Boston's WBZ-AM that some children were in the locker room and some were on the ice, "and then we heard a snap and knew something was wrong."
"We started to get off the ice and started screaming for all the kids, and the second snap came," Sharkey said. "Then just it turned into complete 'get off the ice as quick as possible and get these kids out of the structure'," he said.
A photograph taken inside the rink by Police Chief Ken Berkowitz shows significant damage to the building. Debris and snow can be seen on a portion of the ice surface.
Canton Fire Chief Charlie Doody told the Patriot Ledger of Quincy a coach was propelled across the rink by air pressure from the collapse, which also damaged part of the building's front facade. Doody told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kim Tunnicliffe things could have been much worse if the collapse had happened a couple hours later.
"We're so blessed," said Doody. "At 9:00 [a.m.] there were 200 skaters that were scheduled to be here - little 5- and 6-year-olds at their last 'learn to skate' lesson of the season, along with their parents. Had this occurred two hours later, it would have been a very, very different scene."
Lynn Valkanas was outside the rink later with her 9-year-old daughter, Laura, a goalie from Canton who was supposed to have attended the 9 a.m. ceremonial free skate on the last day of skating class.
"This is scary," the girl told the newspaper. "It's sad. I have a lot of memories here."
State and local inspectors were evaluating the building.
State officials say heavy snow has caused roof collapses on more than 150 structures this winter.
According to a spokesman for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the rink is one of 42 owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Several DCR rinks have been forced to close in recent weeks due to fear of roof collapse. The spokesman added that DCR officials had been in touch with Metropolis Skating Rink employees concerning the snow on the building's roof.