PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Heavy snow likely caused the roof of a produce warehouse to collapse in Hillsboro Thursday morning.
Storm Smith with the Hillsboro Fire Department said the 8000-square foot warehouse at 560 SE 4th suffered a total roof collapse. Five people were inside the building at the time of the collapse.
“They were apparently sleeping in the building with the owner’s permission,” Smith told KOIN 6 News. “We understand that they were workers there, as well.”
Jimmy Leafty, who works at the warehouse, told KOIN 6 News he was “making sure everything was all right and just mainly getting the people out to make sure there’s no injuries make sure no body was hurt. That was my main concern. I wasn’t worried about myself.”
Three men and 2 women were unhurt but wet from the flooding caused by the broken fire sprinkler pipes.
There are at least 2 businesses in the building — the Bodega El Campesino produce distribution company, which took up most of the warehouse, and an embroidery alteration business, which used a small office in a corner.
One worker with the alteration business stayed at the warehouse and allowed 4 others to stay, even though the building is not permitted as a residence. The owner of the alteration business told KOIN 6 News she was just trying to be nice.
The Red Cross is providing assistance for those 5 people, he said. “They did get quite wet in their ordeal.”
Utilities to the building were shut off because of broken sprinkler lines and a gas hazard.
Smith said the roof collapsed on the west side and is pushing on the east side wall, making the entire building “structurally unstable right now.”
He said officials will advise the building’s owner — Gene Zurburgg Construction — about the structural integrity. “It’s up to him what he does with it.” The estimated cost of the damage is $250,000.
Smith said the Hillsboro Fire Department hasn’t seen a lot of roof collapses, but they obviously do happen.
“These buildings were built in the late ’50s, early ’60s,” he said. “They have some bow string truss types of roofs on them, and those are sometimes problematic.” Officials said this type of roof is no longer used in construction.
What to do about snow on your roof
KOIN 6 News contacted the owner of a roofing company to find out what homeowners or business owners should do about the snow on their roofs.
The simple answer: Nothing.
The contractor said if your home is standard construction, the roof should be able to handle this amount of snow just fine. But, he added, if you’ve had problems with your roof, it may be a good time to call a contractor.
The danger in getting up to clear your roof is you could fall. So, stay off your roof and let your roof do its job
School roof collapses in Bend
(AP) — The Bend-La Pine School District has closed all its schools for roof assessments after a gymnasium roof collapsed at an elementary school Thursday morning.
The school district said on its website that nobody was in the gym when the roof fell at Highland Magnet at Kenton School in Bend.
The district says there will be no school Thursday or Friday.
The weight from 2 feet of snow has strained roofs in Central Oregon. Bend firefighters responded to a collapsed building Wednesday evening near the Old Mill District, and a FedEx distribution center was evacuated because a collapse was feared.