Melting snow too much for Bentley garage roof

Another roof has given in to the weight of this year’s snow.

The roof of the garage for residents at Big Springs Condo on 53 Avenue close to the high school in Bentley gave way and collapsed around 9:15 a.m. March 29.

Residents reported hearing a noise and then a loud bang.

The roof of the six bay garage behind the condo had collapsed into the centre, leaving outside walls bulging outward.

Resident Joyce MacKinnon thought a big truck may have hit a big pothole that was in the back alley, but neighbor Fern Snow came and rang her doorbell and said the garage had collapsed.

“I thought someone had hit my truck parked out front,” resident Colin Day said.

Another resident had heard creaking when he had removed his vehicle to go to work in the morning. He missed being caught under the rubble by a mere 10 or 15 minutes.

“We were just lucky no one was hurt. Cars can be replaced,” said MacKinnon. She was pleased to hear that the insurance company is providing replacement vehicles until the claim can be settled for those who had their vehicles trapped inside so they will not be left stranded on foot.

Local fire crews responded quickly and the gas to the main units was shut off for a while until it could be determined that there were no gas leaks from the gas meters that are mounted on the south end of the garage.

Some anxious residents packed suitcases in case they had to leave for fear of further collapse of the main building.

The west side (front section) was later pulled down for safety reasons.

That probably caused more extensive damage to the trapped vehicles as the building collapsed further but kept anyone from trying to enter.

Insurance broker Derek Dickau, who was on the scene very quickly, has been helpful throughout the ordeal.

Residents were assured the building is covered by insurance but MacKinnon said the contents are not. “Our cars should be covered with our own personal property insurance,” she said they were told.

Day, president of the Big Springs Condo Association, said the insurance adjuster gave no estimate of what the damage might amount to and there were concerns of where the rubble from the clean-up could be hauled as Bentley has no place that will accept such refuse.

Although there was a bay for each of the six condo units, with roll-up garage doors for each unit, the unheated building itself was one big room with no interior inside walls between bays. Three cars, one quad with a snow blade, one motorcycle and other miscellaneous articles such as lawn mowers, were buried in the collapse. It is believed the three vehicles will probably be write-offs.

Members of the condo association were trying to remove some of the snow from the main building with roof rakes on March 30.

Construction of the condo units and garage was from the fall of 2003 to the fall of 2004.