SNOW FORTS: Beware cave-ins as temperatures rise - KMSP-TV

SNOW FORTS: Beware cave-ins as temperatures rise

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Photo sent in by Matthew Segale Photo sent in by Matthew Segale
LAKEVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) -

Since higher temperatures are sure to make the snow start shrinking in the next few weeks, safety officials are urging parents to tell their kids to be cautious around any snow fort that could collapse.

This year's winter has been brutally cold, making snow forts a favorite shelter for those who still want to venture outside; however, as the snow melts, the risk of them collapsing on a child becomes a very real danger.

The trio of Tyler, Ethan and their friend Lauren can be found working on their snow fort every day at the Anesons' home. They're trying to make it more spacious, but to do that, they must chip away at the walls.

"I'm sure at this point after half a winter, the walls are getting a little thin on it," Jenny Arneson admitted. "We'll have to have some communication on being safe when in there."

That's a conversation the Lakeville Fire Department hopes every parent will have with their child because when it comes to building snow forts, fun can become a frigid nightmare fast.

"It can be one minute that everything is going good as far as playing inside, digging that tunnel," Chief Mike Meyer said. "Next thing you know, that thing can be on top just like that."

As the snow starts to melt, the forts will become unstable and collapse. The weight of the wet, heavy snow can be difficult for a child to escape from, which is why officials are issuing their warnings now.

"It can be very deadly," Meyer said. "It's no different looking out west for avalanches. If someone gets trapped in one of those, it can suffocate you."

Officials say that in order to stay safe around snow forts, those who are building or playing should make sure they are not alone. Parents are also advised to keep close watch since there is only about as much time to save a child buried under snow as there is to save a child that is drowning.

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