How it all went down

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

According to B.C. Place Stadium's 1992 roof management and preparedness report obtained by 24 Hours, roof operators are supposed to call Central Heating to order 70,000-90,000 pounds per hour of steam when prompted by emergency sensors.

The steam is supposed to be sent between the Teflon-coated fiberglass roof's two layers to melt snow and avoid roof damage.

That wasn't done last Friday before the dome's roof ripped. Stadium general manager Howard Crosley maintains snow wasn't piling atop the lid. Photographs disprove his claim and so does a 24 hours' source. The source said a mass of snow, ice and slush avalanched when air pressure was doubled in desperation. It sheared the roof near the concrete ring beam, creating a gaping hole above Section 54 on Level 4.

"It never had to happen," said the 24 hours source. "Why would you gamble? If it's snowing, turn on the snow melt!"

Trouble began around 4 a.m. when snow was detected on the roof, but director of operations Brian Griffin refused to order the snow be melted. The interior temperature was kept at 10 C all morning as four fans kept the roof aloft.

Around 12:30 p.m., two workers noticed the roof drooping and asked a superior if the west side's public address speakers were being lowered purposely. The roof began to flatten, then "they went into panic mode" and doubled the air pressure. The massive tear exposed the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics' opening and closing ceremonies to the elements. It collapsed before 1 p.m., though Crosley continues to claim it was a "controlled deflation."

The roof was originally installed for $9.3 million and inflated in November 1982. The 1992 report estimated the cost of a new roof at $13 million to $17 million.


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