BRIGHTON, Utah (ABC4) – A Holladay man died on Monday after he was buried under an avalanche of snow that came from the roof of a building in Brighton.

According to Unified Police Department Sgt. Melody Cutler, the incident happened around 7:35 a.m. near 8300 South and Brighton Loop Road. Police believe the victim, Ryan Peterson, 50, went to his cabin to clear snow off the roof.

As Peterson was clearing the snow, police believe a large amount of snow slid off the roof, taking him with it. Officers were notified after no one was able to locate Peterson or able to get in touch with him.

Cutler said responding officers found Peterson outside of the cabin, buried beneath the snow with only a part of his arm and boot visible. Canyon officers unburied him and he was pronounced dead on the scene.

In early March, the Utah Avalance Center published a warning about the dangers of roof avalanches.

As temperatures warm up and rain potential increases, roof avalanches could become a significant hazard, especially in mountain communities where snowfall was the heaviest. As the roof heats up beneath the snowpack, snow at the bottom will melt faster than on top, reducing surface friction between the built-up snow and the roof.

The International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants said managing snow through the season can help limit the risk of roof avalanches, as well as damages to a building’s roof.

The Town of Brighton released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

The Mayor and Council Members of the Town of Brighton express their deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the 50-year-old man who lost his life to a roof avalanche Monday evening.

The town also issued the following recommendations:

  • Please stay off your roofs, it is too dangerous.
  • It is safer to let the snow melt naturally at this point rather than trying to remove the snow.
  • If you see any deflection in your roof beams or cracked roof joints, notify a professional roofer immediately. They will have equipment to remove the snow safely and securely.
  • Keep children and pets away from any areas on or around roofs.