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Authorities: ‘Roof avalanches’ have led to injuries, death in Crested Butte

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-10 19:01:03-04

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Authorities in Crested Butte say recent “roof avalanches” have led to injuries and in one case, even death.

On Saturday afternoon, two men who were clearing the roof of a commercial building in the Crested Butte South neighborhood were trapped by a slide caused by the work they were performing at the time, officials said.

First responders arrived to the scene to find employees already digging for the two victims, who were identified as 37-year-old Crested Butte resident Blair Tulliver “Tully” Burton and Stephan Michael Martel, 25, of Gunnison.

Officials said one of the victims was reportedly heard yelling and was quickly removed from the debris. The other was found unresponsive shortly after.

Burton was taken to a hospital for suspected hypothermia, officials said. Martel was pronounced dead after arriving to the hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained in the slide.

On Friday evening, officers were dispatched to a home in the Town of Mt. Crested Butte for a report of a man possibly buried by a roof avalanche resulting from snow-clearing activities.

That man was identified by Crested Butte authorities as 28-year-old Alex Theaker. Police said he was found breathing, but unresponsive when he was found by first responders.

He was taken to Gunnison Valley Hospital to be treated for a low body core temperature, officials said. It’s not clear how much time Theaker was buried in the snow.

Authorities said that over the past week, the Crested Butte area has received more than 4 feet of wet, heavy snow resulting in avalanche danger rated as considerable to extreme.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said Sunday avalanche conditions for Colorado’s high country remain dangerous into Monday.