Park City Man Dies From Rooftop Avalanche

A PSA For All Park City Homeowners.

Snow Piling up on a Park City Homeowner's Roof.

Snow Piling up on a Park City Homeowner's Roof.


Utah has been experiencing one of the best winters of the last decade. We are being hit by storm after storm, each one leaving behind multiple feet of snow. While this has been great for skiing, it poses a serious threat to all homeowners.

John Henry, a 50 year old Park City resident, passed away on Sunday, February 6th, 2017 after a few hundred pounds of ice and snow fell from his roof and hit him while he was cleaning his windows.  Four Firefighters couldn’t lift the slab of ice off and had to break it in order to free him according to Fire Chief Paul Hewitt.

The recent snow storms have deposited multiple feet of snow on your home’s roof which deposits a layer of ice at its base during the thawing and refreezing process. This usually occurs because heat escapes through your insulation and melts the bottom layer of snow which then refreezes at night.

With the temperatures this week reaching into the 40’s Fahrenheit during the day, the snow on your roof will begin to melt and will freeze at night when the temperatures drop. This process cycles and causes the ice to get thicker and heavier.

The warm daytime temperatures make a rooftop avalanche much more likely. The layer of ice that has formed is more susceptible to slipping due to water forming a layer between the ice and your roof. The ice is no longer frozen to your roof during the day and is instead floating on a layer of water caused by the snow and ice melt. Rooftop avalanche conditions are severe right now.

Rooftop avalanches are extremely dangerous and have unfortunately already claimed the life of a husband and father. We ask all Park City residents to be extremely cautious about where they walk and work. Our condolences go out to the family of John Henry.

Please do not try to remove the snow from your roof, it is dangerous. Err on the side of caution and hire a professional. 

Stay safe out there.

Randy Jimenez