PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)
Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)
Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)
Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)
Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)Heavy snowfall cracked a window at the Kitimat Northern Sentinel on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, unleashing an avalanche 12 feet into the newsroom. (Gerry Leibel/Northern Sentinel)

At first glance, one might think the photos were taken during last weekend’s blizzard in Newfoundland.

But while the recent winter storm here in B.C. may have let up on the south coast, the snow has continued falling in the north and caused some major problems at the Black Press Media community newspaper in Kitimat.

“On Friday, the snow was already level with the windowsill,” recalled Gerry Leibel, editor of the Northern Sentinel.

But on Monday, when Leibel got to the office, the windows were shattered and an avalanche of snow was 12 feet into the newsroom.

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“The two rooms affected were my office, of course, as well as our interview room,” Leibel said. “My laptop froze up – literally and figuratively,” recalled Gerry Leibel, editor of the Northern Sentinel.

He said his journalistic instincts kicked in when he first saw the cascade of snow, and had some fun with a camera before figuring out how to clear the space.

District of Kitimat work crews spent much of the day removing the snow and glass from the office and boarding up the broken windows. Those won’t be repaired until the mountain of snow outside is removed. The exact cause of the incident is under investigation.

“Currently, there are three massive dehumidifiers whirring away in the two offices, drying the waterlogged carpets,” Leibel said.

Locals don’t have to worry about their Thursday edition being absent from their doorsteps. Leibel said even a miniature avalanche can’t get in the way of meeting the press deadline.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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