Early Morning Roof Collapse at Glenbrook Mall

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 02/19 2014 10:01AM

Updated 02/19 2014 02:07PM

First it was a fire, then a flood caused by a broken water main and now a roof collapse.   If you were planning on eating at TGIFridays over at the Glenbrook Mall here in Fort Wayne anytime soon, forget about it.

An early morning roof collapse has shutdown Fridays, the Harley Davidson Store, and Auntie Annes.  The early morning collapse is being blamed on the wind blowing snow on the roof 6-7 feet deep.

WFFT's Brooke Welch talked with the Allen County Assistant Building Commissioner, shoppers, and people who work in the mall, all who are worried about the aging building.

There are still portions of the roof in danger of collapse, and the Assistant Allen County Building Commissioner Roger Clark says workers began at lunchtime and will be there until the morning hours to stabilize all areas of the roof.  He tells WFFT TGIFridays has 2 walls down and will have to be demolished.  If this had taken place during the day, there could have been fatalities.

"Very lucky.  There was no advance notice.  It's nobody's fault.  Had this been a regular snowfall, nothing would have happened.  All of the snow on the Sears roof, blew over and went on the wall between the mall and Sears."

Clark went on to tell WFFT that the snow was much deeper than you would expect, at 6 -7 feet deep.  Patti Hogle was on a shopping trip, but decided to skip all of the stores at Glenbrook.

"Well especially as much as it's warming up, the snow is going somewhere and if one part of the mall has already caved in, I guess until we get a clear okay that the mall is safe, then we're going to stay away."

Kiosk worker Loren O'Dell says the roof caving in didn't stop him from coming to work.

"I think it was due to the weather.  I hope it doesn't happen again, but I hope they can get it fixed up and get the mall back to normal."

Clark wants to assure everyone that there is an inspector onsite and the mall has hired a structural engineer.

"It wasn't a bad design. The mall didn't do anything wrong.  Just a very unusual circumstance."

This isn't the only problem the mall has had in recent months.  In September there was a fire near JCPenny's and there was a water main break that left some stores closed for weeks.

WFFT spoke with the owner of the Harley Davidson Store and he did say that he expected his store to reopen in just a few days.  Most of the damage to his store wasn't from the actual roof caving in, but from the water and snow that came with it.

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