WEST FARGO — An alert maintenance worker prevented a dangerous situation on Thursday, Jan. 2.

When the worker went into Trinity Containers main office at 420 Main Ave. E. around noon, he noticed a smell of natural gas. He then noticed the roof had collapsed and cut the line that had ignited a fire in the furnace.

The worker was able to extinguish the furnace fire before firefighters arrived.

Officials believe the weight of the recent snowfall caused the roof to collapse sometime after Christmas. However, the duration of the fire is unclear. And officials couldn't say how long the building had been filling up with gas. Firefighters said it could have been much worse.

"Depending on if the fire had enough oxygen, right concentration of gas, there could have been a major fire there or possibly an explosion in the front part of that building," said West Fargo Battalion Chief Kendel Frost.

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Homeowners and business owners are encouraged to clear snow from their roofs.