Official: Don’t panic after roof collapseFargo’s top building inspector urged people not to panic about their own roofs Tuesday after a section of roof at the Sysco food warehouse in north Fargo collapsed under heavy snow and ice. “These roofs have been around, most of them, a lot longer than us, and they’ve been through this weather, and they’re designed for this stuff,” city Inspections Administrator Ron Strand said.
By: By Mike Nowatzki, Forum Communications Co. , The Jamestown Sun
Fargo’s top building inspector urged people not to panic about their own roofs Tuesday after a section of roof at the Sysco food warehouse in north Fargo collapsed under heavy snow and ice.
“These roofs have been around, most of them, a lot longer than us, and they’ve been through this weather, and they’re designed for this stuff,” city Inspections Administrator Ron Strand said.
“The worst thing that could happen is we get a bunch of people falling off roofs or having heart attacks that were unnecessary,” he added.
A roughly 100-by-100-foot section of the Sysco warehouse roof partially collapsed about 10:15 p.m. Monday when a main I-beam failed.
The roof landed on tall metal storage racks, but not before breaking a sprinkler line that flooded the warehouse and front office with up to 4 inches of water, Fire Capt. Mike Hendrickson said.
Damage to the 190,000-square-foot warehouse was estimated at $300,000. No one was injured.
Crews had cordoned off the area and cleaned up much of the water when about half of the sagging roof section crashed to the floor about 7 a.m. Tuesday.
The second collapse buckled a load-bearing wall that splits the warehouse from the cooler area, Hendrickson said.
Ice buildup was more than a foot thick on some areas of the roof, he said.
The company temporarily suspended operations at the Fargo warehouse, which serves North Dakota, northwest Minnesota and northern South Dakota, said Mark Lanctot, president and CEO of Sysco North Dakota. Products were being routed to customers from other Sysco facilities in Minneapolis, Billings, Mont., and Lincoln, Neb., he said.
“At this point, we’re going to be spending time just making sure the facility’s secure, and fortunately, again, everybody’s safe,” he said.
Two construction firms were working to shore up the collapsed area, Lanctot said. Some products were expected to ship today from the warehouse at 3225 12th Ave. N., he said.
Strand said the building appeared suitable for use “for the most part.”
City inspectors didn’t pinpoint the cause of the collapse, but based on what they found, Strand speculated that the roof’s drains had frozen in early winter, causing rain and snowmelt to pond and freeze.
Owners of flat-roofed buildings are aware of the need to remove snow, but there’s probably not much that could have been done to remove the ice buildup, Strand said.
“Sometimes, it just happens,” he said.
Homeowners and other building owners shouldn’t panic about their own roofs because of the Sysco collapse, Strand said.
“I can see 60,000 people out there thinking they have to get up and shovel snow off their roofs. Don’t do it,” he said. “If you’re sure you have a problem, then you might have a problem. And if you think you might have a problem, you probably don’t have a problem.”
Mike Nowatzki is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.