Facebook Twitter

Man killed by roof avalanche in Brighton; mayor urges caution

Brighton Mayor Dan Knopp said the man came to Brighton Loop Road on Monday to check on a cabin that he owns along with multiple families who use it recreationally

SHARE Man killed by roof avalanche in Brighton; mayor urges caution
29093517.jpeg

Snowbanks tower over a car driving in the town of Brighton on Jan. 4. A man was killed in a roof avalanche in Brighton on Monday.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

A man was killed Monday after being buried in a roof avalanche at a cabin in Brighton.

Brighton Mayor Dan Knopp said the man came to Brighton Loop Road on Monday to check on a cabin that he owns along with multiple families who use it recreationally. Knopp said the man's brothers came to look for him Tuesday morning after he didn't return.

Officers were ultimately dispatched for a welfare check and found the man almost completely buried in snow, said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police identified the man as 50-year-old Ryan Peterson, of Holladay.

"We believe he had attempted to clear snow from the roof and came down with the snow," Cutler told KSL.com.

"It looks like he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Knopp said.

The mayor warned that due to the relatively low number of sunny, warm days this winter, roof snow has built up without periodically melting off — creating potentially dangerous conditions as temperatures rise.

"The snow on roofs that would normally slide multiple times hasn't slipped," Knopp said. "There's enough tension on the peak of the roof (and) there's such a thick layer that it kind of holds. But when it does finally go, it's catastrophic."

He cautioned residents from trying to clear roof snow themselves, saying it's probably safer to let the the snow melt off naturally and avoid areas underneath sloped roofs for the time being.

"There's still a lot of snow up there waiting to come down and it's either going to melt or it's going to come down in an avalanche," he said. "Depending on how that happens, we'll see how the spring goes. At this point, we're at the mercy of Mother Nature once again."