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Man dies after falling from icy roof in Nagano

30 Comments

A 59-year-old man died after falling from the roof of his house in Nagano City, police said Sunday.

According to police, the man, identified as Yasuo Wada, went up to the roof of his house to clear ice away at about 1 p.m. on Saturday. He apparently slipped and fell five meters to the asphalt below, TV Asahi reported.

Wada was taken to hospital with head injuries but died about three hours later, police said.

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30 Comments
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poor guy...RIP

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Geez... not a big fall but big enough, I guess. RIP. And for all those on-the-roof goers, learn from this guy -- if you're going on top secure yourself to something.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He won't do that again, will he?

-11 ( +2 / -11 )

Saw a 6-7 year old boy on his families roof up here the other day doing the same thing, I kid you not. Rest in Peace poor guy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I kid you not.

nice pun.

Feel sorry for the man's family...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Help me out here anyone who has lived in these conditions - why is it even necessary to clear ice off your roof? Is it the weight? The risk of it falling on someone?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It is extremely heavy Nicky.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

why is it even necessary to clear ice off your roof? Is it the weight?

That's a major reason. When I lived in Toyama, where they get a lot of very wet snow, the weight of the snow on the roof of our wooden house would make it impossible to move the sliding doors. Left to its own devices, the show compacts down under its own weight so that there's a thick layer of ice underneath; a sudden thaw can send that crashing down on the head of anyone who is unlucky enough to be passing by.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess we are well and truly in the "death from falling off roof" season now

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

i guess its now time to develop a roof with heating function to melt snow away

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Isn't the answer to build stronger or better designed houses to cope with the build up of snow and ice?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We lived in Nagano for 8 years before moving to Kobe City. It's the birth place of my wife's family. We lived deep into the mountains near Hakuba. It depends on how much snow, which in many places can be more than 5 meters. But this year, there's less snow than usual.

In Omachi City the snow can be over 10 meters deep, amazing.

http://www.city.omachi.nagano.jp/kbn/Files/1/00039021/img/otani.jpg

<http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9VGZjBQHr0s/TSN11a8t_jI/AAAAAAAAF34/yIj_zXMJV90/s640/Japan+snow+2.jpg

My art studio roof has strong beams but its only covered with metal. I never climbed on the roof to remove snow, I would consider that too dangerous. There are many houses with a snow roof, higher and greater slope so that the snow falls off. But its about money, people build what they can afford.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

RIP. Have to use a safety device of some sort or work with something long from the ground up.Hope this is the last we hear of any of these types of fatalities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chinchan Zu, nope, just better roof insulation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the weight of the snow on the roof of our wooden house would make it impossible to move the sliding doors

.So why is that not a problem in Canada, northern Europe and other snowy places where people don't go on their roofs?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So why is that not a problem in Canada, northern Europe and other snowy places where people don't go on their roofs?

Are the houses in Canada, northern Europe and other snowy places made of wood?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In America Cleo most are made with two by fours, but the construction is much better.

We never climbed up to push of snow. The sun did that for us.

One thing good about heavy snow, is that you can tell which houses have good insulation and which do not. No snow, bad insulation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MaboDofulsSpicy,

there are no diagonals in traditional Japanese houses, they ever discovered the power of them. When we moved to my wife's old family house in Nagano, which I converted into an art studio, I installed diagonals on all the vertical timbers.

I agree mostly, leaving the snow is better for insulation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am no snow country kind of guy but I do think the buildings in Nagano etc..need to CHANGE their roof styles, say like over in Switzerland?? Those Alpine chalets have very steep roofs so the snow rolls right off, right?? If you are making Tokyo style homes up in Nagano, you will keep having these problems right??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just another idea, if the Japanese can have homes with yukadanbo, the floors are heated by flowing hot water, hmmm.how about also having hot water or something similar for the roofs to melt the snow??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Isn't the answer to build stronger or better designed houses to cope with the build up of snow and ice?

You paying?

My house is old so I have gone up to shovel heavy snow off the roof before. Better safe than sorry. But of course the big difference is that the snow was equally piled up all around the house. If I fell off, I would fall into a big pile of snow. I would love to rebuild though. Just as soon as TokyoKawasaki's check arrives in the mail...

But this guy fell onto asphalt. That suggests his house was right next to the road or sidewalk. He may well have been more worried about ice or an avalanche of snow sliding off his roof onto pedestrains, who could get injured. And before you say that people rarely sue in Japan, I am looking at this from the compassion angle, not the fear of being sued angle. Hats off to people who actually worry about others enough to get snow and ice off their roof before it hurts somebody. But at 59 it would be better to get someone else to do it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even a very steep roof can hold a lot of snow.

Example: http://www.edutraveller.com/jp/images/photos/DSCN1486.jpg

And in many parts of Japan, a lot of snow is what you get. I don't think elderly people go up there for the fun of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

** So why is that not a problem in Canada, northern Europe and other snowy places where people don't go on their roofs?

Are the houses in Canada, northern Europe and other snowy places made of wood?

** They are made from wood but the design is much, much better. The roofs here are not sloped near as much for the snow to fall off. It is poor design and building - nothing new here though. Plenty of flat roof houses and "mansions" being built which is not good. Neither is the traditional type style which is said to kill most victims in earthquakes due to their weight. Housing companies really need to start looking at better designs for earthquakes and elements.

RIP to the man and sympathies to the family. Been watching on the news and they've been showing people up on roofs with zero safety precautions. Surprised there hasn't been more deaths to be honest.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

tmarie: "They are made from wood but the design is much, much better. The roofs here are not sloped near as much for the snow to fall off."

These pictures tell a different story. Nothing special about the roofs here. It seems when enough snow accumulates, people go up and clear it off.

Switzerland: http://genevalunch.com/files/2011/12/fresh_snow_mollens_clearing_roof_sm_301211.jpg

Alaska: http://www.cbsnews.com/i/tim/2012/01/12/120112-Alaska-buried_in_snow-AP120112042466_620x350.jpg

Sweden: http://naturallore.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/dsc00598-medium.jpg?w=500&h=375

Austria: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/01/11/article-2084917-0F6A933600000578-128_634x404.jpg

Vermont: http://denverpost.slideshowpro.com/albums/001/496/album-191997/cache/winter31.sJPG_950_2000_0_75_0_50_50.sJPG?1296675121

Montreal: http://citynoise.org/upload/25279.jpg

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some of your links aren't working. If you look at the Montreal link, easy to tell that that is an old house and few would be built like that these days.

For your Austria one, you can clearly see the guy is attached to a safety harness - and judging from the size of the roof in the pic, I don't think that is a house. Certainly not all houses have the best designs in these countries but never in my life has my family ever had to get up on the rood and shovel - nor has anyone who has ever lived around me. The only time I have seen it is on the news back home - older houses and certainly nothing that was built in the last 30 years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Some of those links are dodgy. Never mind: imagine a roof, some snow, and a person clearing it. Same conditions, same hazards, and people die doing it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Readers, please stay on topic. References to other countries are not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

dude don't go on your roof when it is icy..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I climb up to the roof to clean the snow almost every year. Then, I found a roof snow rack with 30 feet extendable pole. It works quite well. I still need to climb up once in a while but I just make sure both my legs are planted in the snow and clean from top first and move really slow. I do like the view and fresh air on top of the roof though

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Areas that get lots of snow typically have higher peaks to their roofs. This naturally makes for a steeper incline that allows the snow to slide off before the weight exceeds the load carrying capacity of the roofing material. There's a whole discussion about how increasing the roof-incline moves the weight vector away from pushing directly in on the roof, but I'd mess it up if I tried to explain it in detail.

One other reason to be keeing the snow off the roof is if you have gutters. There's a problem around here with the eaves rotting away due to ice dams. In short, the heat from inside the house works its way up to the roof, melting the snow immediately touching the roof. The water from the snow melt runs to the gutters which are NOT warmed by the house. The snow melt re-freezes in the gutters and the resulting ice dams eventually back up to the lip of the roof - soaking the wood underneath the shingles. Wet wood = rotting wood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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