Could have been 80 tons of snow on part of Miller Hill Mall that collapsed: UMD Professor

The rest of the structure should be sound
Roof collapse at Duluth’s Miller Hill Mall, no injuries immediately reported
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:02 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:04 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - UMD Professor Brock Hedegaard studied the pictures of the collapsed of part of the the Miller Hill Mall roof.

His initial guess is one of the trusses supporting the roof failed in the area.

That then would have caused a cascading failure in other trusses.

Trusses are similar to beams.

Hedegaard believes that cascading failure would stop before effecting the entire mall.

“There’s a natural way of kind of breaking the structure into pieces. And so you’d have one piece collapse in on itself and it doesn’t really have a lot to do with some of other pieces around it,” Hedegaard told Northern News Now. He continued, “So I would say, that’s about as far as that one is going to go.”

Professor Hedegaard did that math. He believes that between the recent snow fall, coupled with drifting that often happens on large building roof tops, there could have been as much as 80 tons of snow on the area of the roof that collapsed.

Professor Hedegaard teaches Advanced Structural Analysis, Advanced Concrete and Steel Design plus Structural Dynamics at the University of Minnesota - Duluth.