Overnight Work To Clear Huge Ice Dams From Church

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (WCCO) — Temperatures in the 30s on Saturday may have felt good but it’s been a mess for a lot of people. That includes a church in New Richmond, Wis. where crews are working through the night to remove huge ice dams before Sunday morning services.

“Just a matter of too much snow on the roof,” said church member Dale Strege

The roof on St. Luke’s Lutheran Church is under attack by ice dams. Strege noticed the first signs of damage inside the pastor’s study a week ago.

“You can kind of see the staining on here. It was coming down the inside of the window, hitting here and bouncing off the heaters down here,” he said.

Several other areas of the church were also showing signs that if something wasn’t done quickly things could get worse.

“Our biggest concern was is when it starts running down the outside walls. The next place it’s going to run down would be the inside walls,” said Strege. “So we figured we had to get somebody out here and take care of this right away.”

Shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, crews from Hustad Company, a professional roofing contractor got to work.

“What they’ll do is they’ll cut this ice, much like firewood, they’ll cut it in sections of 10, 12, 18 inches wide and then they’ll steam right underneath it. And once that comes loose it will slide right off the roof,” said Allan Dau with Hustad.

Dau said his crews will work around the clock in order to have the ice dams cleared by morning worship.

He’s concerned for the safety of people who worship here. Dau said some of the ice dams can weigh over a ton and the church’s roof is not designed to hold that much weight. The ice dams, some 12 inches thick, have to go.

“These dams are much like the Hoover Dam, they’re backing water up,” said Dau. “And the amount of water and the amount of snow that’s going to be melting there … is going to have a significant amount of water build-up, thus damage in the church.”

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