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Two more roof collapses at Bend storage building

Fed Ex building threatened; co. relocates packages

BEND, Ore. - Two more large portions of a vehicle storage and former KorPine mill building in Bend's Old Mill District collapsed Thursday, less than a day after a big part of the Hooker Creek facility collapsed under the weight of snow with a roar heard from some distance.

There were no injuries, but they were just the latest signs that some roofs, from commercial to industrial to residential, can’t withstand the weight of the heaviest snow load seen in much of Central Oregon in 20 to 25 years. A Fed Ex building that threatens to collapse on Bend's north end still stood Thursday as the company worked to relocate the last few dozen packages.

Other collapses around the area of late have included carports at two large apartment complexes and a large portion of the roof at a Redmond industrial building, as well as weekend roof collapses at a Tumalo youth ranch's horse arena and the closed Woodgrain Millwork mill in Prineville..

In La Pine, the Bi-Mart store was closed Thursday morning due to a heavy load of snow on the roof. A worker said they reopened at noon after the roof was cleared.

The Bend Fire Department responded around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to the reported building collapse at 175 Southwest Industrial Way, said Deputy fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.

Crews arrived to find the snow had collapsed a “significant portion” of the structure, Derlacki said. It was part of the 22-acre former KorPine mill site, bought by Hooker Creek Companies in 2004 for $4.8 million, and used for storage of construction vehicles and private RVs.

The force of the collapse sent debris up to 100 yards away, Derlacki said. A lone wall was left standing, with RVs visible beneath the rubble.

Derlacki confirmed Thursday that a second part of the building had collapsed, as others reported, around 10:30 a.m.

"Not all of the rest, but the western end of the remaining section," he said.

Another collapse at the site occurred around 2 p.m.

The building was valued at $9 million, Derlacki said, and its contents worth an estimated $7 million, both of which were insured.

Due to the unstable nature of the structure, no one was allowed to enter the building’s remains after the initial collapse and caution tape was strung along a gate to the area.

Derlacki said Industrial Way will be closed until further notice along the north side of the building, due to the potential of further building collapse.

The fire official noted that Industrial Way is a private road owned and maintained by Hooker Creek. Businesses along the road still have access, he said, but no through traffic will be allowed, as the building is beside the road in the area.

Hooker Creek will bring in structural engineers this week to assess the building and work to prevent further loss, Derlacki said.

Cascade Natural Gas and Pacific Power were called in to shut off utilities to the site, while Bend police also assisted at the scene.

Meanwhile, fire officials spent much of the day working at the scene of the Fed Ex building at 63245 Jamison Street, where they were dispatched shortly before 11 a.m. on a reported roof collapse.

They arrived to find that was not the case, but that the north wall of the building “was visibly bowed inward,” according to Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering.

Only a few workers were on site and had to be evacuated, she said, as delivery trucks had gone onto their routes earlier in the morning.

Cascade Natural Gas was on scene, as some ceiling-mounted heaters were compromised, and an odor of natural gas was noticeable to first responders, Kettering said. Pacific Power and Bend Public Works also responded to the scene as all utilities were disconnected and secured.

Fire crews were unable to enter the building, due to compromised structural integrity, but were able to view the metal roof structure from exterior doors and noted the steel structural supports were beginning to twist and deform.

Cracks in the building’s exterior façade also were noticeable, the fire official said.

A statement Fed Ex provided to NewsChannel 21 on Thursday reads:

"Our team is working today to relocate any packages that remained in the building. Customers with questions about their shipments can track their packages on FedEx.com or call 1-800-GO-FEDEX.

"Fortunately, no customer packages were damaged during yesterday’s incident. The few remaining packages were located on the opposite end of the building in an unaffected area.

"We are currently in the process of relocating approximately 75 packages that were in the building. I will share details on this as soon as we have those available. We encourage customers to track their packages on FedEx.com, where they can find the most updated tracking details.

Kettering said the most likely cause of the roof structure failure was a snow load in excess of what the steel truss and purlin (beam) roof system can support.

“These types of roof systems, which typically cover long spans over warehouses and other large open spaces, tend to be highly engineered, with minimal reserves, and can be subject to failure from excessive snow loading,” Kettering said.

She said Deschutes County property tax records show the building was constructed in 1996 and has a listed value of $1.7 million.

Structures built in Bend since the adoption of building codes in the late ‘60s are required to have roof systems that can support 25 pounds per square foot – which equates to about 20 inches of snow, depending on moisture content, Kettering said.

Bend Fire & Rescue urged the community to evaluate their homes and contact a professional, such as an arborist or roofing contractor, to access the roof and remove snow, if needed.

“The current snow and ice conditions make it very dangerous for individuals to access a roof without the proper skills, knowledge and equipment,” she added.


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