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Winter ‘roof-alanche’ captured on video in Old Town Square

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, at 3:05 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at 10:06 a.m.

Nothing was open in Old Town Square on Thursday, so Amanda Laviana volunteered to go retrieve lunch from Wendy’s for her snowbound co-workers at Associated Integrated Marketing, whose offices are at 330 N. Mead, in between CityArts and Oeno Wine Bar.

As she returned to work, Laviana said, she noticed large hunks of snow falling off the building. She whipped out her cellphone and started filming.

But Laviana, who is a copy writer at the agency and also is the daughter of Eagle reporter Hurst Laviana, captured something on her phone that she was not expecting.

A roof-alanche.

Suddenly, boulder-sized hunks of snow started falling fast and furious from the roof of the building, landing in a thud that she said shook the building and left her offices temporarily obscured by a cloud of snow. Some of her co-workers later told her they thought they were feeling an earthquake.

“I was just hoping to catch one or two of them on video,” she said. “Then they all came crashing down.”

At the advice of a co-worker, Laviana submitted her video to CNN. A producer called her on Friday to tell her they were going to post her video on the “iReport” section of cnn.com, which features user-produced videos.

The producer also asked if she would be willing to be interviewed on the air. She said yes but hasn’t yet heard back.

On Friday, Laviana said, she witnessed a similar roof-alanche fall off the other side of the building, which faces Caffe Moderne. She didn’t get that one on video, though.

Laviana, who can be heard gasping on the video, said she was amazed at what she captured.

“I never get stuff like that,” she said.

Melad Stephan, who owns several restaurants in Old Town Square, including Oeno and Caffe Moderne, was in Caffe Moderne during Friday’s roof-alanche, he said.

Two years ago, he said, a similar snow slide crushed several of his patio tables and chairs at Oeno and destroyed a car parked outside.

When he noticed the snow starting to slide on Friday, he asked employees to move all the tables and chairs off the Oeno patio.

Ten minutes later, he said, the snow all came down.

Stephan said the crashing snow created a loud noise. He said he worries that snow falling in that volume could hurt someone.

Dave Burke owns the building that houses Oeno and Associated. He is out of town until Saturday and could not be reached.

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