ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 4-year-old Alaska girl who was buried by snow falling off a metal roof has died, state troopers said Monday.
Authorities were notified by the state medical examiner that Alexcia Baril died Monday, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
The girl was buried by 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow in the Fairbanks suburb of North Pole on Saturday, according to authorities. They were notified by a woman who said she could not find her granddaughter after snow slid off the roof.
The girl was found buried under the snow on the back porch of the home, and authorities said she was submerged for eight minutes. The girl had no pulse and was not breathing when she was found, but she was revived, authorities have said.
She was flown from a Fairbanks hospital to Anchorage.
Metal roofs are long-lasting and can be found throughout the state. But with large snow loads, they can pose a risk of slides if temperatures quickly rise as they have in recent days in the region, which has seen a heavy snow season.
North Star Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief David Daniell said snow falling from metal roofs is not uncommon. There are plenty of near misses, but it’s a rarity if someone is struck by falling snow such as occurred in North Pole, he said.
“It was what you would call a freak accident,” he said.
To guard against sliding snow, many people put horizontal snow blockers on the roofs. Daniell said he didn’t know if that was the case in the North Pole slide.
North Pole resident Gerald Newton said he doesn’t have such snow breaks on his metal roof, saying there are no children or pets around, and visitors are few. The main part of his roof has a steep grade, and snow has slid all winter from it. But his porch roof has a lesser slope. On Saturday the snow on it let loose and fell.
“It all came off at once,” he said. “It sounded like a jet engine taking off.”
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