Snow and ice on the roof of a Brookhaven Town salt shed in Miller Place caused the structure to collapse during the latest winter storm, said Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro.
He said the loss of the structure, which served northeast Brookhaven Town, could hamper future snow clearing efforts. A five-member crew worked through the night in rain and snow to salvage about 100 yards of salt and sand after the shed collapsed at about 4 p.m. Thursday, he said.
No one was injured in the collapse. A highway worker escaped as the building buckled, Losquadro said.
"He was in the truck. He was unloading the remainder of the load he had in the hopper . . . and he heard the trusses start breaking," Losquadro said. "He put the truck into gear and drove out of the barn and it came down behind him."
The salvaged material will help the town clear roads Saturday as more snow is forecast.
"We obviously didn't want to waste any material," he said. He said he could not estimate the cost of building a new shed or how soon it could be constructed.
The shed was one of eight operated by the town. The nearest one to Miller Place with sufficient capacity to serve northeast Brookhaven is in Coram, about 10 miles away, Losquadro said.
Losquadro posted photographs of the damage on his Facebook page, with a message in which he said losing the structure posed "a significant challenge" to snow-clearing efforts.
The accumulated weight of snow and ice from six storms since Jan. 1 left "too much moisture" on the wood-frame structure's pitched roof "and it gave way," Losquadro said.
More than a foot of snow fell on parts of Brookhaven during the latest storm, which began Thursday morning with snow, then turned to rain before turning back to snow early Friday.
Crews from the highway and waste management departments cleared the debris Friday, he said.
The building, which holds as much as 1,500 yards of material, had weathered numerous snow storms, nor'easters and superstorm Sandy since it was constructed about 25 years ago, he said.
Losquadro said he planned to inspect the town's remaining salt sheds to ensure they are withstanding the winter.
"I thought we'd be able to get through this winter" before inspecting the sheds, Losquadro said. "But clearly Mother Nature wasn't going to let that happen."