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Girl buried, injured by snow sliding off roof in Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 4-year-old girl was buried by 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow in an Alaska town after snow slid off a roof, seriously injuring the child, authorities said.

Emergency workers went to the home in the Fairbanks suburb of North Pole after a woman said Saturday afternoon that she could not find her granddaughter after snow slid off the metal roof, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/2oqlLhd).

North Star Volunteer Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Wells told the newspaper that the child was buried for eight minutes. “The fortunate part is we were kind of in the neighborhood finishing a call and we were able to get there — crews got there immediately,” Wells said Sunday.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the family was about to leave the house together and the child went outside first, he said. The parents then heard the snow crashing down from the metal roof, Wells told the News-Miner.

The storm door leading to the back porch area opens outward, and the door was jammed because of the snow, he said.

“They had to kick out the glass (of the storm door) to get outside,” Wells told the newspaper. “Calling 911 without delaying really helped . We had a huge area we were searching. The whole deck — the whole back side of the house — was buried. It was a large area to search. This would be similar to an avalanche. The father actually located the child’s hand.”

The child had no pulse and was not breathing when she was found. But she was revived, he said.

The girl was flown from a hospital in Fairbanks to Anchorage.

People who live in houses with metal roofs should make sure that an excessive amount of snow doesn’t accumulate atop their homes, Wells said.

“With the weather, a word of caution to the people with metal roofs,” he said. “With this kind of weather, this is going to happen. We had a lot of snow this year.”

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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