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Snow challenges BC Place roof

The Grinch almost made a pre-Christmas appearance at B.C. Place Stadium.

On Dec. 17, workers scrambled to manually open dampers so that the air-supported fabric roof's snow melting system could work during a snowstorm.

On Dec. 19, the roof alarm activated when air pressure plummeted to 180 pascal around 11:45 a.m.

General manager Howard Crosley said "the roof was never in trouble."

He did admit that construction workers involved with the building's pre-Olympic renovation have accidentally removed pneumatic lines that feed the roof's air supply in separate incidents.

"The snow melt system is working fine, the actual dampers are propped open, so we're not having any problems," Crosley said.

Two years ago, on Jan. 5, 2007, the snow melting system was not used during a morning snowstorm. Heavy, wet snow that collected on the roof avalanched and ripped the fabric, causing it to collapse. It was repaired and re-inflated two weeks later, but not before attracting global media attention because the stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Reports published almost a year later by Geiger Engineers and the stadium's health and safety committee recommended an independent audit of stadium operations.

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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