Buckling roof closes street in Calumet

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette An Upper Peninsula Power Co. worker looks at wiring after the roof collapse at the former Family Dollar building in Calumet Thursday.

CALUMET — A section of Fifth Street was expected to remain closed Thursday night after a partial roof collapse earlier in the day at the former Family Dollar building.

The roof showed signs of bowing last night before giving way around noon, said Brian Knight, co-owner of Calumet Floral, which is in an adjacent building.

“This morning it was obvious,” he said. “If you looked on the inside ceiling of the building, you could see that it was buckling.”

The Calumet Floral building, which also includes upstairs apartments, was evacuated. Calumet Floral will likely remain closed Friday, said village President Dave Geisler.

The village had contacted Family Dollar, which still owns the vacant building, two weeks ago to warn it of the accumulating snows, Geisler said.

Family Dollar had told them someone would be cleaning the roof soon, but no person materialized, Geisler said.

About 15 percent of the roof was damaged, said Steve Wright, structural engineer for U.P. Engineers & Architects. There was about 8-10 feet of snow on the roof prior to its collapse, he said.

The water line was also broken, Wright said. Geisler said the village had contacted the gas, power and water companies to ensure conditions were safe.

“It looks like it’s possibly a one-story building and the roof just collapsed, so there was nothing inside the building to be damaged,” Wright said.

Geisler said the building dates to the 1950s. It had most recently been a Family Dollar prior to its move to a larger location four years ago.

Geisler had been trying to contact Family Dollar Thursday afternoon with no success. He hopes the company will either stabilize the building or tear it down.

“I expect them to do the right thing … I don’t want to go there in terms of litigation, because I’m hoping it won’t be necessary,” he said.