Partial roof collapses at Eau Claire Kmart; Menomonie auto parts store
Eau Claire (WQOW) - The roof of a store was no match for a powerful winter storm Thursday night.
Part of the roof at the Eau Claire Kmart collapsed Thursday. No one was hurt. There were employees and customers inside. The piece that collapsed was 75' by 75'. It happened right over the garden center inside the store. There was a smell of natural gas in the area after it happened. To be safe, firefighters evacuated the nearby Holiday convenience store and Erbert and Gerbert's restaurant. Xcel Energy sent crews in and shut off the gas. They believe some gas lines broke as the roof collapsed. Firefighters also had other concerns as well.
"With the sprinkler system and the roof collapse we do have some damage to those pipes there," said Eau Claire Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Bell. "We were able to turn the water off from inside and we have mitigated that from further water damage. At this time we are worried about heat loss and getting this building back up and running with heat and water so we don't have any damage from the cold."
Firefighters say the gas levels in the building never reached a point where they were worried about an explosion, but they wanted to play it safe so that's why they evacuated the nearby businesses. There's no word yet on the cost of the damage or when the store will reopen.
Heavy snow caused a roof collapse at O'Reilly Auto Parts in Menomonie.
A load bearing beam gave way causing the roof to drop about three feet.
Menomonie Fire Department responded around 9:30 p.m. to the call. Two employee's were in the building at the time but they are uninjured.
No damage to gas or water lines was found. The fire department says that there is potential with the additional snow that the roof could fully come down, or other parts of the roof could drop.
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