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Heavy snow takes down 2 capital area sports halls

Inflatable sports domes are a common sight in Finland, but the facilities sometimes have trouble dealing with snowfall.

Esport Arena at Tapiola Sports Park in Espoo. Image: Olli-Pekka Kursi / Yle

The heavy snowfall brought by the ongoing blizzard in southern Finland resulted in the collapse of two capital area sports domes on Wednesday.

The weight of snow caused a rupture in the large inflatable roof of Esport Arena at Tapiola in Espoo, according to Kurt Möller, the development director of Esport.

According to current information the hall was empty at the time of the collapse and no injuries related to the incident were reported, Möller told Yle.

Story continues after map.

Map featuring Esport Arena at Espoo's Tapiola Sports Park. Image: Rea Lemström / Yle

The rupture occurred in the hall's southwest corner at around 9:30am on Wednesday, caused by the heavy snow delivered by this week's significant winter storm, he explained.

The dome is held aloft with the assistance of air pressure and the sports hall's automated system compensated for the loss in pressure, which caused the rupture to tear apart further, Möller continued.

"At the same time, our staff ensured that the hall was definitely empty and that no one was in there," he said.

Then, the rest of the inflatable roof's remaining air pressure was released in a controlled manner. When fully inflated, the sports hall reaches three stories high.

The facility is closed for the time being, but Möller said it would open as soon as it's safe.

Second hall downed in Pakila

The heavy snow was also too much for a similar sports facility in the Helsinki district of Pakila run by the Helsingin Palloseura football club.

The inflatable hall couldn't withstand the weight of the snow, according to the club's director Pasi Paakki.

"There was simply so much of the stuff," he said, noting that use of the facility was banned on Tuesday evening due to the possibility of collapse.

Paakki said it was too early to say how quickly the facility would be operational again.