City officials have determined that heavy snow and lots of rain on top of the roof of a West Haven warehouse were believed to be the cause of a partial building collapse Wednesday night.
A West Haven building official was driving on Water Street when the town employee saw the Superior Roofing warehouse's roof collapsed and some of the walls bulging out.
Crews said their plan is to gear the Superior Roofing warehouse down on Thursday because it is so unstable.
"Our concern is the front wall has a large bow on it," said Deputy Chief Scott Schwartz of the West Haven Fire Department. "With the street being open, we are concerned it may collapse in the street and possibly harm somebody."
Water Street will remain closed until the demolition is complete, officials said, because the building is leaning towards the road.
Utilities to the building have been shut off in preparation for the demolition.
Officials said the business was closed at the time of the collapse, and no one was in the building at the time. However, almost all of the buildings supplies inside were lost.
The owner was on scene Thursday morning with a salvage truck, trying to save what he could.
The former owners of the building, which is best known for a former fishing and tackle shop, told Eyewitness News they left back in 2000. They had brought the building up to code in the late 90's. Superior roofing has been using it for a storage in recent years.
The West Haven building inspector said his office was working with the owner for the past few years on disrepair issues, but it was never condemned.
The issues didn't rise to the level of people not being allowed to go inside, the building inspector said. The snow and ice were the final tipping point that compromised building, the inspector added.
Fire crews said they've been preparing for more collapses like this one.
"We are expecting to see more of this throughout the state and here in West Haven, tomorrow and the next day, with the water coming in," Schwartz said.
Officials stress that if building owners have roof rakes, put them to use.
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