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Crested Butte Fire warns of “urban avalanches” after man dies while shoveling roof

Posted at 4:03 PM, Mar 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-10 18:04:07-04

CRESTED BUTTE – Saturday, a man died in an “urban avalanche” while shoveling snow off the roof of a two-story restaurant in Crested Butte.

The Crested Butte Fire Protection District is now warning people to use “extreme caution” when clearing snow from their roofs.

According to reporting partner 9News in Denver, the Gunnison County dispatch center said two employees of Tully’s restaurant were clearing off its roof when they slid off in an urban avalanche. 37-year-old Blair “Tully” Tulliver Burton was partially buried and 25-year-old Stephan Michael Martel was buried under three feet of snow. Martel did not survive.

In a Facebook post Saturday, the Crested Butte Fire Protection District said that several other people in the county have also been injured by urban avalanches. They said these urban avalanches are “no joke” and should be taken seriously.

9News said employees immediately began working to dig Burton and Martel out after they fell. First responders got to the scene nine minutes later and were able to quickly remove Burton. Martel was found a short time later and both were rushed to an area hospital. Martel was pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to Gunnison 911, Crested Butte has received more than 50 inches of snow in the last week and avalanche danger has been rated as “considerable” to “extreme.”

The Crested Butte Fire Protection District said that those clearing roofs should have a good safety system in place and always use the buddy system.